Laos Internship, Dissertation Writing, and a New View
August 21, 2020
What am I doing here?
Landed in Laos and did a seat-of-the-pants whirlwind tour of Northern Laos on Honda CRF250 dirt bikes. That was a blast and a sorely needed adventure for someone that has been in graduate school and working for the past two years. I'm here to perform a research dissertation on agricultural development in Laos, specifically coffee growing and how this cash crop affects development.
My research and education are interdisciplinary, keeping in line with how complex development is. What I believe development should be and what it actually is may well be two different things. My studies and world experience thus far leave me believing that there are indeed pillars of development, things such as nutrition and land rights. I'm excited to see what truths fall out of this experiential endeavor.
Ideally, I can dig into some soil research, find ways to improve the existing quality and quantity of the harvest and gain insight into this landscape and how it produces. From there teaching and learning pruning techniques for coffee arabica could afford many years of good bounty. Personally I am interested in intercropping and how to fix soil quality, ultimately leading to healthy land, plants, and hopefully people.
Regenerative agriculture calls to me because it seems so counter to a modern extractive world economy. Finding ways to create harmonious cycles while still producing something that can be of economic value is intoxicating to me. It coincides with my thoughts on development, that the future will continue to march forward and progress has brought both good and bad things. Finding more ways to create holistic cycles is important both for a sustainable environment and a mentally healthy way of life.