Rapid Rise in Demand for Organic in Costa Rica

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    In 2015 when Upward Spirals first launched the Organic Directory, we were excited to find about 65 locations around Costa Rica to buy organic food.

    Despite Costa Rica’s deserved reputation as a world leader in sustainability, we found it was frequently difficult to find the healthy food we wanted to eat, and the farmers we wanted to support.

    The Directory was a gift to the community of Costa Rica, a small but heartfelt way to help the people ‘in the field’, those working hard to create the healthy communities we all value. Over 10,000 people around the country have visited the resource to find healthy food and connect directly with their farmers.

    We’ve since seen a huge growth in people’s awareness of how important it is to grow and eat food that is healthy for our bodies, supports our local communities, and regenerates rather than degrades the environment around us. Consumers want to put as few toxic chemicals in our bodies as possible, and farmers are eager to meet the demand and work in healthier gardens while simultaneously protecting nature and a thriving future for our children.

    The rise in healthy lifestyles isn’t just about organic fruits and vegetables. People are considering the ecological impact of their purchases, and they want to know what’s in their food, increasingly saying ‘no thank you’ to GMOs, fluoride, and other potentially harmful ingredients. People are choosing to buy local, wanting to support their local community and create jobs for their family and friends.

    Across Costa Rica, the rise in Wellness Tourism shows people want the support of holistic health practitioners, experts focused on building and maintaining a healthy body, instead of relying on conventional medicine’s chemical fixes to diseases which could be easily avoided through thoughtful diet and exercise choices.

    Exposure to pesticides and herbicides doesn’t just come from food. It used to be standard to use these carcinogenic products to more quickly clear brush from roadways. Perhaps this practice was so widespread because using those products seemingly so far from where we grow our food obscured the connection. Unfortunately the distance doesn’t protect, it just delays. Rainfall flows over recently sprayed areas, picks up the toxins, and from there pollutes rivers, oceans and gets dispersed everywhere as water cycles through the environment. Thanks however to Vida Autentica and a group of passionate community members, just this year Perez Zeledon became the first municipality in Costa Rica to ban the use of agrochemicals in public spaces.

    In our rural neighborhood in southern Costa Rica, the local pulperia Elizabeth’s has been quickly adding dozens of organic products, and our favorite Soda La Pena now has sea salt on the tables, cooks with coconut oil, and replaced the typical tasty-but-not-so-healthy hot sauces with incredible home-made healthy alternatives. You can see the pride in the Angelmira’s face when she serves the food, knowing she contributed in this small yet vital way to the health of the community she loves.

    The growth of the Organic Directory since it came out two years ago is also a microcosm of this local and global trend towards greater health. In this latest update to the directory, we are thrilled to bring together information on 188 farms, stores, restaurants and ferias around Costa Rica where we can buy organic products.

    In this latest edition we’ve added a huge section of organizations helping producers and consumers move towards more healthful and organic options. These educational programs, demonstration sites, consultants, and support organizations are helping new and experienced farmers around the country learn sustainable and regenerative growing methods and business practices.

    We’ve also gathered a massive library of great free resources for those wanting to easily learn more about not just growing organically, but also about a range of other sustainable solutions and regenerative lifestyle options available today. These guides and books cover a range of topics like organic agriculture, permaculture, natural building, renewable energy, community development, social benefit project management and much, much more.

    If you’re reading this because you value your health and you care about creating a sustainable, regenerative world around you, you may also be interested in some of Upward Spirals other offerings.

    The Learning Calendar: Costa Rica is a free wellness and sustainability events calendar that 142 organizers around Costa Rica use to promote their workshops, classes, retreats, expeditions and much more.

    The Educators & Healers Directory is a free resource for local teachers and practitioners of holistic health and sustainability to make their offerings better known to people seeking their services.  We’ll be launching that in the coming months, if you would like your offering to be included, please fill out the questionnaire on our website.

    The Sustainable Living Expedition is our latest community benefit program, an educational adventure around southern Costa Rica where we tour sustainable solutions and learn from regenerative lifestyle experts how they’re creating thriving communities. This transformative and inspiring week empowers guests with the knowledge, network, inspiration and ability to live in greater harmony with nature. The next Expedition is August 6th, hope to see you there!!

    Upward Spirals is a non-profit think tank and consulting company. We’re building tools, templates, guides, business plans, and social benefit programs for leaders of regenerative projects, to help us all accelerate the co-creation of a regenerative society. If you believe in the importance of supporting the organizations working on the most important cultural shift in human history, please consider supporting our fundraiser!

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