Living in North Florida and working on an organic farm, I have never really had trouble trying to grow plants. Coming to Panama and working on the farm in the Valley has opened my eyes and made me appreciate every little sprout that tenaciously pokes it’s head through the dirt – which so far has not been many. Right now it is the dry season here in Panama, which means that there is very little rain and the sun is so strong that the soil cracks. Every morning in Kalu Yala, I walk around and water all the baby plants that were recently transplanted, but it’s so hot that within minutes of watering them, the soil is bone dry again. We have planted a variety of seeds including papaya, pumpkin, mixed greens, beans, and some others – but they are all having trouble sprouting. One of the raised beds we made next to the kitchen exploded, almost over night, with beans and cover-crop babies; words cannot express how excited I was.
It really makes me think about all the farmers around the world that are dealing with extreme weather, such as flooding and drought. For example, in West Africa there is a massive food crisis occurring. Right now in Mali alone, 4.6 million people will go to bed hungry because of a poor harvest and a killer drought. Extreme weather is only going to become more and more common because of global warming, and we need to prepare farmers worldwide; while it’s only the dry season here in Panama, we have a unique opportunity to learn about growing in an extremely hot and dry climate. So I’m going to keep planting and keep rejoicing about every single sprout that is strong enough live.