Work in the garden pays off… twice!

Work in the garden pays off… twice!

AUTHOR: Coco - The Vegan Pirates

When I came to Costa Rica and started a new life with permaculture, regenerative farming, and reforestation, I quickly realized that I must work on my fitness, strength, and stamina. It wasn't just the tropical temperatures and high humidity that made it difficult at first, but the strenuous work itself. After years in Europe in an office and mainly behind a computer, these new tasks haven't been easy, and my body isn't ready yet. It led to exhaustion, sore muscles, and lots and lots of blisters on my hands. But I embraced the work outside, loved to get my hands dirty, dug in the soil, and used the machete or other simple tools. And after a while, I wasn't only used to the heat and humidity but also built muscles, gained strength, and improved my stamina.


Imagine that millions of people - also many in Costa Rica - pay good money to visit a gym or do other physical exercises using expensive gear while in air-conditioned rooms. But it can be so easy and liberating to work (out) in your garden or on your farm and not go somewhere else. You could also make massive progress for nature - by reforesting trees for future generations or planning and installing garden beds or a greenhouse so you can harvest veggies or fruits.

Grab some tools and start to work outside and on yourself… You might do some woodwork, e.g., cutting and carrying bamboo and using the poles for sheds. You could also prune trees or cut down old trees and take the trunks for later use at garden beds or for building terraces on slopes. Transporting rocks with a wheelbarrow brings excellent strength and goes easy on your back. Another activity is digging, which is perfect when drilling holes for new trees or making ditches for irrigation or drainage. You also could carry buckets or bags with soil and pile them up for garden beds or planting crops.

Well, there are clearly two sides that benefit from all this physical exercise and your hard labor. Not only do you stay fit and save money simultaneously, but with your food, you can become self-sufficient. Numerous measures benefit nature - for example, when renewable materials such as bamboo are used instead of newly purchased materials made of plastic, steel, or wood. Or when collected stones of different sizes are used to create paths, maybe even combined with wood chips. Because this not only reduces the carbon footprint due to the lack of transport and has a generally sustainable and resource-saving effect. Also, think about the great satisfaction you might have achieved on your own and how proud you will be of your place in the future.

But please don't put too much strain on your body at once. Start slow, and don’t forget to have fun!

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