Growing olives in the Apaza Valley
The woman in this picture is Ester, a lively and energetic local Arica resident who visited the operations center after a local newspaper reported on VOCALS. Ester took me to the Apaza Valley, which is a fertile and narrow oasis about three kilometers east of Arica. Throughout the year, the valley produces a variety of fruits and vegetables, but most importantly the olives of Apaza, famous for their color and taste. Ester wanted to show me her well maintained and peaceful olive grove but also wanted to raise my awareness of the changes that she had been seeing for the last six or nine months. A lot of her neighbors have started to sell their groves to large agricultural firms who then cut the olive trees to make room for corn. Ester was concerned about the long term impact of these changes to the valley's century old agriculture, especially the availability of water and its quality downstream. After we returned to Arica, Ester invited me to her home where she was in the process of transforming part of her entry way into a small shop from where she will sell marinated olives and olive oil to her neighbors.
Postcards from the Field: Climate Science from the Southeast Pacific