Sustainable development – economic development that is conducted without the depletion of natural resources – has been a topic that has become popular in the recent years. With the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in 2015, some countries have taken the initiative to include the promotion of sustainable development in their agendas. And Argentina is one of the countries that has taken the lead within Latin America in terms of human development.
This Winter Term, I had the opportunity to work with the project “Sustainable Development Practices in Argentina,” where I had the opportunity to work and learn from the San Esteban Farm. It was the opportunity for me to study how it is possible to run a business that incorporates sustainability practices in their daily life work. This farm’s work has also been seen as an example for other kind of ecotourism, “Turismo de estancia,” where the visitors have the chance to stay at a place that runs under sustainability practices and feel connected with the environment surrounding them. Visitors end up having a different experience than just staying at a hotel or a hostel. The farm receives visitors who are mainly interested in perpetuating the idea of sustainability, and therefore learn about how to do it while enjoying their stay at this farm. The farm is currently trying to increase their target audience to young travelers and people who are not that aware of sustainable practices to therefore serve as a window of knowledge and advocates of sustainability.
I assisted with the day-to-day activities at the farm, such as checking the crops and animals, the watering and solar electricity systems, and being the bilingual person to talk to when needed. My previous work in Costa Rica and Guatemala with sustainable development practices was highly valuable to contribute to this experience. I felt I was able to contribute and learn at the fullest with this experience, as I was familiar with the practice’s background and the farm’s sustainability goals.
“My work at the San Esteban Farm taught me that it is possible to run a business under sustainable development practices. It is about wanting to do it and actually implementing it! It gives you a profit while you educate others and protect the environment.”
I want to give special thanks to the Middlebury College Center for Community Engagement for supporting my project and for made me a recipient of the Cross-Cultural Community Service Grant.