Kalsec is Celebrating 25 Years of EARTH Interns

EARTH Interns and Host Families

Members of EARTH University and Kalsec pose with EARTH interns and their Kalsec host families.

For 25 years, students from EARTH (Escuela de Agricultura de la Region Tropical Humeda) University in Costa Rica have journeyed to Kalamazoo, Michigan for Kalsec’s internship program. Kalsec hosted a heartwarming reunion between several former interns and their host families to celebrate this 25-year achievement and to discuss ways to further enrich the program.

“EARTH University is a most unique and special place. I first visited in 1992 and immediately fell in love with the students, faculty, administration and campus. It embodies the best that humanity has to offer in terms of fundamental values and our connection to each other and the planet,” said George Todd, Executive Chairman of the Board, Kalsec. “Over 40 countries are represented in the student body at EARTH with many coming from countries where our spices are grown and sourced. This is one way we can give back to the communities that have given so much to us.”

“The Kalsec intern program provides an exceptional learning environment for our EARTH University students and is one of the most coveted among our third-years. The experience also includes immersion in U.S. culture through the wonderful hospitality of Kalsec host families. We are extremely appreciative of Kalsec’s ongoing generosity to the EARTH scholarship fund and to other key programs. Kalsec has been a cherished EARTH partner for over 25 years,” said Arturo Condo, President, EARTH University.

Where are they now?

Kalsec spent some time with a few of our previous EARTH interns to hear what they are doing now and how they are affecting the world. We talked about how the internship with Kalsec and EARTH University affected their lives.


Joaquin was an intern with Kalsec in 2006. He credits this internship for setting the stage for his life. When visiting Kalsec farms in Texas, he was given his first exposure to spent waste and bio-gasses. This experience sparked his interest and led him to create his first company treating manure in Costa Rica. He has since been teaching at EARTH for seven years and is currently a consultant.


EARTH intern Melisa and host family

Former EARTH intern, Melisa, poses with her Kalsec host mother.

Melisa was Kalsec’s 1997 EARTH intern. She is now a property manager for MAU, LLC and she can still remember the taste of Kalsec’s chilies. The internship exposed Melisa to a family-owned and successful American company, and helped her learn English and a new culture. Melisa currently resides in Michigan with her proudest accomplishment, her family. Her host family has become another extension of family for her, and she considers her host mother to be another grandmother for her children.


Gustavo was an EARTH intern with Kalsec in 2001 and is currently Kalsec’s Vice President of Procurement. Gustavo was always interested in the combination of agricultural production systems and business. He was intrigued by the opportunity to be an intern at Kalsec and see this powerful combination first-hand. Once at Kalsec he fell in love with the company business and culture. In his role today, Gustavo impacts agricultural systems and the livelihood of farmers worldwide. Kalsec is a leading company in our sourcing activities. For example, Kalsec has worked extensively with sources at origin to rationalize the use of agrochemicals, which makes Kalsec sources more sustainable long-term.


2018 EARTH Intern

The most recent EARTH intern, Lucia, poses with her Kalsec host family.

Lucia was the most recent intern with Kalsec. She spent time with the research and development protein innovation team, worked with food regulations and with responsible sourcing with the procurement department. “What I enjoyed the most about my internship was having a host family and having this feeling of being part of the Kalsec family,” said Lucia.


Nelly was one of Kalsec’s first EARTH interns in 1995. She is now a business consultant in Ecuador, specializing in exports and promotion. The internship with Kalsec was her first real job experience. It taught her discipline and sparked her interest in supply chain and natural and organic foods. This is important to her now because Ecuador is largely an agricultural country.


EARTH University was founded on the premise that local leadership would be key to achieving peace and shared prosperity among rural communities struggling with poverty and limited futures. With this transformative premise in mind, EARTH set out to train and prepare future generations of values-driven leaders for rural areas. Over the past three decades, the University has consolidated an established platform for rural leadership education that has provided holistic undergraduate education in agricultural sciences to more than 2,000 students from more than 40 countries around the world, nearly 90% of whom come from rural areas.

The full press release can be found here: Kalsec and EARTH University Celebrate 25-Year Partnership.

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