"Thinking with Soils at Concordia"

This research hopes to answer the following question: how are sustainable farmers proposing an alternative development model for Costa Rica by engaging in relations of care with soil?

This research will be done by engaging on a year-long ethnographic journey at Centro Nacional Especializado en Agricultura Orgánica (CNEAO) to respond to this question. Drawing from Feminist Science and Technology Studies (STS) and future-oriented ethnographic methods, this research will showcase how soil is a place of world-making. In this research, soil will be presented as a living entity in which farmers create new relationships that form the basis for healthier land, food, communities, and economies.

Before going to the field in Costa Rica, Melina will begin a  project at Concordia with the intent for it to act as a prototype for the experimental approach. This prototype should contribute to further the discussion on food sovereignty on campus. With that purpose, Melina will create a working group at the Concordia Ethnography Lab and the Concordia Food Coalition to “think with soils”. The working group will translate into the engagement of a series of stakeholders to discuss a series of readings and explore how food consumption on campus impacts soil health and how taking human-soil relations seriously can impact campus sustainability.

The goal of this thesis is to demonstrate how in their attention to soil, sustainable farmers participate in re-imagining the Costa Rican development model. A model which is less focused on the modernist temporality of progress and more on relations of care with an ailing planet. This project aims to enact what the researcher wants to see in her fieldwork: Concordia can also act as the “eco-laboratory,” where more hopeful food futures can be imagined and performed.

Themes: Food, Community

Melina Campos

PhD, Faculty of Arts and Science