Much of the international conversation about Panama is directed toward people who wish to retire. The claims are that you can retire and live on your social security check. Indeed that is possible if you have a decent check, if it keeps coming and if you live frugally. There is however another type of retirement in Panama, one far more exciting.
Ron and Kim Miller did not come to Panama to retire, not in any traditional sense. They came to Panama to create a new business that in time would allow them to live here in a self sustaining manner. According to Wikipedia,
“Retirement is the point where a person stops employment completely (or decides to leave the labor force if he or she is unemployed).”
If that is retirement, then Ron and Kim are demonstrative of a new definition of retirement, one endemic in Boquete and Panama. For lack of a better definition I will call it a career realignment. In the US Ron has a company that supplies auto parts for exotic cars. In Panama Ron and Kim have created Finca Santa Marta, an organic produce farm.
If you visit a Tuesday morning market in Boquete you have seen them selling produce, eggs and free range chicken. If you are lucky you can visit the farm and see how a lifestyle can transition.
Santa Marta is an agricultural area west of Concepcion, Bugaba Panama. Finca Santa Marta has seventeen hectares of land being slowly converted into organic production. Ron, Kim, Tino the farm manager and nine employes are terra forming the farm into a modern agricultural facility. They have been fortunate to find talented local employees who have contributed knowledge and experience, because for Ron and Kim this is a new adventure. Although they grew up in farm country, this is their first effort in farming.
It is a rather dramatic example of how new immigrants can help make things happen with local employees and expertise.
Kim in a forest of cherry tomato plants showing the sticky yellow paper, insect control without toxins.
Mayra, who grew up on a farm in Bugaba and teaches agriculture, was impressed with the entire farm, all organic, and very productive. She observed techniques not usual in Panama that simplify the growing process and allow for better production.
When you put all of the production together, this is the final output and excellent salad of fresh vegetables. Salad of this type is not something common in the diet in Panama and with the efforts of Ron, Kim and others it is becoming more available to everyone.
The Millers, might not have thought this was retirement, it is indeed career realignment. What many outside observers do not yet understand, is that because of it’s very favorable business and tax laws, Panama is not just a haven for people looking to retire, but increasingly a land of opportunity for creative people who want to continue to be productive.