The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Going green with bananas in Costa Rica

The banana trees lining Costa Rica’s main highway—identically sized, evenly spaced, each sporting a blue plastic bag to protect the bunches from sunlight and bathe them with pesticides—are one reason experts say Costa Rica’s forest has shrunk by 65 percent.

Rosa Emilia Cruz, a banana grower in
Rosa Emilia Cruz, a banana grower in Talamanca, Costa Rica, benefited from a banana planting and biodiversity venture encouraged by the Lutheran Costarican Church, with funding from the ELCA.
With encouragement from the Lutheran Costarican Church, small producers in the territory of Talamanca on the Atlantic coast help preserve the remaining ecosystem. Instead of clearing the forest, they plant bananas, corn and other crops in the shade of existing trees. Planting under the canopy reduces the use of chemicals and preserves biodiversity.

Shade planting isn’t a new concept for Talamanca’s indigenous people, but the Costarican Lutherans’ Agricultural Reactivation Project is reviving and promoting this age-old technique.

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February issue


Embracing diversity