A Historic Moment for Perez Zeledon and our Communities
Dear Community Members,
Thank you to all who signed the petition and/or attended (120+ persons) the municipal hearing on April 6 where Perez Zeledon became the first of 81 cantons in Costa Rica to pass a law prohibiting the use of agrochemicals in our public spaces. The vote was almost unanimous with 8 of 9 regidores voting in favor. Presentations were made by Bolivar Ureñas, President of Aso-Organicos, an association made up of agricultural producers in PZ and the Brunca Region who are undergoing or already have organic certification, Amy Schrift, Fiscal of Aso-Organicos and representative of Vida Autentica, and Fabian Pacheco, President of the National Learning Institute (INA) in Chinchilla, Cartago specializing in organic agriculture. The petition, signed by many of our community members, was also presented with close to 750 signatures.
An additional motion was passed with a unanimous vote to declare an interest on the part of our canton to support agriculture that is free of agrochemicals as well as the activities of Aso-Organicos in implementing alternative forms of agriculture including organic, biodynamic, permaculture, etc.
It really hit home the next day, when speaking to a Tico friend who has lived here all of his life and has an interest in politics commented that it was a miracle that this law was passed and that it was due to a joining of forces of both the Tico and expat communities here. So HOORAY to PZ and for all of the amazing people that came together to make this happen as well as the implications of passing this law, which will now be sent to every other municipality in the country to vote on.
So, what is the definition of Public Spaces? Public spaces refer to spaces governed by the municipality which include, municipal roads, roadsides and ditches (not the national roads where we often see teams of weed whackers chopping), and green areas such as parks and municipally owned soccer fields. (apparently some of them aren’t municipal owned, but most are) The municipality will make recommendations to the churches, schools (run by the Ministry of Education) and health centers (run by the Ministry of Health) to follow suit and it is often your local community committees who decide how to maintain the grounds of these non-municipal entities, so you absolutely have a say!
And where do we go from here? I am awaiting to receive a digital copy of the “Acto” from the municipality which will provide an official declaration of the new law. I will send it out to each of you and please make copies, forward it on to others, educate your communities and have your development associations send out a stamped letter along with a copy of the new law to each family, especially those living along the public roads stating that they need to maintain the borders and desagues of the roadsides with non-chemical means such as machete and weedwhackers and this maintenance needs to be done in a timely fashion or a denuncia will be filed with the municipality.
It will require entire communities and each and every one of us to help enforce this new law after forty years of heavy chemical saturation of this country which has been a virtual haven for agrochemical producers. Be gentle with your neighbors and give them the facts: a copy of the new law as well as a copy of the Agrodoc that is attached here that explains why it is so important that we stop utilizing harmful, chemical methods to grow our foods and care for this amazing land.
A special thank you to all who helped collect signatures, Vida Autentica and Sabine Weber who was by my side for many after hours meetings, emails and phone calls leading up to the hearing. We will continue to sell raffle tickets at Eric’s booth at the Tuesday market to raise money for the maintenance of our roadsides (a great way to support our local road associations and the chance to win a 100,000 colon prize) and preparations are under way for the Third Annual Seed Festival in Tinamastes to be held on August 6, 2017 (date pending confirmation) and is not to be missed!
In service to this wonderful community of ours.