Sunday, April 17, 2011

Aqui estoy ... con bioagricultura

Today I had the awesome chance to go with Karen, a peruvian friend from the university, and some programmates to Karen's godmother's house a little outside of Lima. Her godparents are organic farmers, better called bioagriculturists, who give tours and teach about what they do. Both are highly educated in things like plant physiology. Normally I am not super-interested in that sort of thing but their presentation was really interesting. I learned a lot and, as always, enjoyed the company. I even learned some things that connect nicely with my readings from class. Awesome.

The basis of the farm is the cuy, guinea pigs, of which they may have up to 1000 at a time. They do sell them for cooking, as it's a Peruvian delicacy, but mainly they collect the guano. They use it to compost into fertilizer and to ferment into gas that they use for cooking and electricity.

They use that compost to fertilize their wide variety of crops. Their knowledge of which plants can grow together and how to rotate them to keep the soil fresh and the various medicinal and other uses of plants is astounding. We used some homemade, plant-based bug repellent. Above are bananas and lucuma, a fruit whose flavor is ubiquitous in Peru, and below is yuca.

They also have some gorgeous flowers including bird-of-paradise (left) and one called el baston del emperador, the emperor's walking stick (right)

We had lunch as well and got to try their homemade lucuma ice cream, as well as cuy! I liked the cuy; it was actually very good and a little sweet, although a lot of work for a little meat.

Hasta la proxima!

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