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The Instagram Project: 25 Unique Relationships With Agriculture

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This site has always been about my relationship with chocolate. It’s written, edited, and designed from my perspective, and even when I reach out for other voices, they’re more often synthesized than quoted.

The last couple of years have been difficult on a global scale, and on a personal level, I’ve been dealing with health issues that make my day-to-day really difficult. But six-and-a-half years ago, back when the site was still primarily a chocolate bar review site and a diary of my travels in Latin America, I embarked upon a project, a challenge if you will, that began to change my perspective of who I was maintaining this site before.

The project was my first foray into producing and maintaining an online presence for someone other than myself, and it still lives on my Instagram, today. Since I haven’t posted in several weeks, this seemed like the perfect time to formally share that project on the site and take a cultivated stroll down memory lane. Some of the photos I’ve chosen are cute, others are funny, but all are real. They’re even in different languages, not just English and Spanish, but also Danish and French. This is by no means the entire collection from the project, some of which was permanently deleted from my profile a few years ago, but it is a selection of the most varied stories I could capture.

As much as this is a project for and about other people, it still sort of documents my own journey, going back and forth from the cacao plantation to the café, and then eventually to the Galapagos Islands. I suppose we can never really take ourselves out of our work.

Settling Into La Finca

About two hours north of Ecuador’s capitol city of Quito, you’ll find a beautiful coffee farm, where cacao and citrus trees grow. The people who find themselves as your co-workers will be some of the most varied and interesting people you’ll meet in all of your travels around the country.

Then Into Quito

Unfortunately your luggage was left in Mexico City on your way from Guatemala to Ecuador, so after just a few days you had to return to Quito to make the long trip to the airport to recover your luggage. One outfit for 5 days is simply not enough.

Before Returning to Pacto

The people you meet range from those completely uninterested in agriculture to those who consider it the only source of happiness and peace in the world.

 

Día 19: Olga “Además de ser un trabajo, me divierto!”

A post shared by Max Gandy | Chocolate Travel ? (@damecacao) on

 

Día 33: Norman “Si, me gusta.”

A post shared by Max Gandy | Chocolate Travel ? (@damecacao) on

Traveling Around Ecuador

On the occasions on which you make it out of the city or off the farm, you feel blessed to see so many sides of this beautiful country, from the ecotourism hot spot of Mindo to the beach side town of Salinas. Looking back, you’ll only wish you’d taken more weekends to yourself.

One Final Farm Visit

After over two months of constant back and forth, this is your last stint at the farm, so you plan to make it count. Picking each coffee cherry brings another potential last surprise, while every other cold shower reminds you why farm life isn’t really for you.

 

Day 60: Mark “I hate weeds.”

A post shared by Max Gandy | Chocolate Travel ? (@damecacao) on

A Trip to Galapagos

Before you leave for good, for now, you manage to get yourself to San Cristobal for a most reasonable price. The experience is unreasonably exquisite.

I hope this post has made your own relationship to agriculture even more precious. Read more about my adventures in chocolate here.

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