The farm is separated into different areas, each with its own steward, all united by the common goal to produce sustainable goods for the island. Some of the areas include packaging and distribution, outdoor growing beds, vermiculture, chicken husbandry, a fruit forest, tourism, and my first step on the list: the aquaponics system. I would move through each specialty week by week, learning the ins and outs of every one until I had an understanding of the whole farm and how each unique piece fit into the operation as a whole.
I glanced again at my phone: 8:35. I should have known this was more of a ~8 am than an 8:00 am, island time was something I would have to learn alongside my farm studies. Juan strolled up and guided me towards the aquaponics system, where we would work together for the next few weeks. Our first task was to trim the mint. In some places, mint is considered a weed due to its quick growing roots and hardy nature, so leaving it to do its thing in the aquaponics system would mean roots growing through the floating beds and clogging the tubing. Meticulously we went bed by bed removing the plants, bringing them back to our makeshift work station, trimming away the excess, and returning them to the start, now sporting brand new haircuts. As we worked, Juan, his assistant, and I chatted leisurely about the upcoming political elections, the ongoing coronavirus situation, and their plans for the week. As the hours passed and I perfected my technique, my movements formed a choreographed dance, and my mind moved to a meditative state, pruning away excess thoughts as I did excess roots. At 4 pm, we called it a day, leaving our plastic chairs laid out in a makeshift circle ready to continue again tomorrow.