Part 6 Happy Anniversary to Joaquín + Urita

Part 6 Happy Anniversary to Joaquín + Urita

Piedras Gordas, Panama— 31 years ago, amidst the festivities of patronales in Santa Marta, Panama, Urita and Joaquín first met. Saint Martha, is the patron saint of the small town where Urita was born and raised. Every year, Saint Martha is celebrated on July 29, during patronales.

People from all over had come to celebrate, play music, and feast. If you’ve ever attended a patronales celebration, the sounds of salomas (Panamanian shouts), the colors of the polleras (skirts), and the smells of bollos de maiz nuevo (sweet corn tamales) will already be familiar to you. Imagine a town full of flowers and bursts of color—everyone wearing their best hats, blouses, and earrings, dressed to the nines (including Urita and Joaquín).


DONATE

Part 5 Climate Change Comes to Piedras Gordas

Part 5 Climate Change Comes to Piedras Gordas

“As a farmer, one of the effects of global warming I’ve noticed is how this once abundant brook has lost so much of its volume. It used to have many different species like shrimp, bream, and sardines. You can see how low it is now. The life it had is gone.

So, what do I want to say about this? We’re worried. The challenge for us is that we have to care for the planet. This affects all of us—children, teenagers, adults, and older people like me…we’re all in trouble."


DONATE

Part 4 Eliaquim's Big Question

Part 4 Eliaquim's Big Question

“I’m tired of living like this,” Eliaquim says. “I want to be able to provide for my family. I want air conditioning and a beautiful house. When I tell all of this to my father, he says, ‘Okay, you are welcome to do all of that, but just remember, you can’t eat money.’ I know he’s right. I value the farm and the way I was raised, but it’s not all I want out of life.”

Meet Eliaquim, Joaquín's oldest son (and find out what his daughter, Nathalia, is whispering!).


DONATE

Part 3 Urita: the Matriarch's Burden

Part 3 Urita: the Matriarch's Burden

“All of our children have their own aspirations,” says Urita. “Some want to study medicine, they want to make money. If any of them decide that they’d rather go in that direction, I just hope that they’d hire someone to keep working on the farm with us in their place so that we can continue on in the same manner that we have been working in.”


DONATE

Part 2 Joaquín: Speaking the Same Language

Part 2 Joaquín: Speaking the Same Language

“What would your grandfather think if he saw the way you’re farming it now?” we ask.

Joaquín looks out at the farm and chuckles. His laugh, like his voice, is quiet, gentle, and slightly wheezy.

“He’d laugh,” he says, with a twinkle in his eye. He’d laugh because Joaquín’s farm looks nothing like it did back in the early 1990’s.


DONATE

Part 1 Meet the Reyes

Part 1 Meet the Reyes

This is part 1 of an 8-part story sequence featuring Joaquín Reyes and his family. For two years, Sustainable Harvest International Field Trainer Mariano Navarro has worked with the Reyes, who are just about to enter the third phase of our program. To learn more about our phases and methodology, click here. Otherwise, read on!

“Don Joaquín, there’s a huge spider hanging off of you!"

Joaquín turns around to look at us. He casually observes the many-hued spider dangling from his straw hat and says, “Oh, her? She’s one of my collaborators,” without skipping a beat.

Unlike many subsistence farmers in Piedras Gordas and elsewhere, Joaquín not only understands that his actions are part of a delicate system, he’s decided to change the way he treats the environment. Sure, most of his peers may still practice slash-and-burn farming and rely on synthetic chemical pesticides and fertilizers in order to farm, but not Joaquín. He knows that he plays a crucial part in maintaining the balance of the ecosystems that sustains him and his family. He also knows that the best way to teach is by being a good example.


DONATE

Sustainable Harvest International on the World Stage

This past October, I had the honor of representing Sustainable Harvest International at the One Health Summit in Davos, Switzerland, where I gave a presentation on how healthy farms lead to healthy people and a healthy planet. You can read the full abstract here. (Thanks to our Program Impact Officer, Ricardo Romero, for bringing his academic expertise to the editing of the extended abstract and preparation for my presentation.)

This international summit, sponsored by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and its Environmental Program, felt a bit out of my league. The bachelor’s degree I received 25 years ago did not feel like much to stand on when I found myself surrounded by hundreds of highly intelligent doctors, veterinarians, academics, and policy makers from nearly fifty different countries.


DONATE

Meet Abner!

Originally from Guatemala, Abner is one of three interns from EARTH University who are working with us through December 2015. Abner is interning with our program in Panama.

My dream is to build a legacy for future generations.
abner

Who are you?

My name is Abner Antonio de Jesús Mendoza Cota. I’m 24 and from Guatemala. I was raised in a rural community and have always had a relationship with agriculture. My grandad is a farmer and he was a rancher as well back on the day. Since I was 12, I’ve attended schools specializing in agriculture. I already have a forestry assessment title and I’m now in my third year of agriculture engineering at EARTH University.

Quién soy?

Mi nombre es Abner Antonio de Jesús Mendoza Cota de 24 años de edad y de nacionalidad Guatemalteca. Provengo de una familia de zona rural con la cual he tenido relación con la agricultura desde muy temprana edad. Mi abuelo es agricultor y en su tiempo se dedicaba a la ganadería actividad que actualmente mis tíos están desarrollando. Con respecto a mi persona desde la edad de doce años entre a una escuela de Índole Agrícola obteniendo un certificado de Auxiliar Agropecuario. Continuando con mis estudios Obtuve el Titulo de Perito Forestal y actualmente curso el tercer año en la Universidad EARTH.

Actualmente llevo 12 años de estudios relacionados a la agricultura de donde he obtenido experiencia y muchos conocimientos, y me agrada mucho trabajar en temáticas relacionadas al campo agrícola, pecuario y forestal.

What are your future goals?

I’d love to run an integrated farm where I could grow a wide variety of diversified crops and raise cattle sustainably. I’d like to pursue a tertiary degree as well.

Que quiero en el futuro?

En un futuro me gustaría tener una finca integrada, de la cual producir varios cultivos junto a una ganadería sostenible y amigable con el ambiente. También me gustaría continuar estudiando.

Why are you studying at EARTH University?

I wanted to become a better professional—one that has all the necessary tools to be successful in the professional sphere. I chose EARTH because it’s a great school with a lot of international prestige in our field. In addition, EARTH University prepares agents of change, which are committed to the development of their communities and countries. 

Por qué decidí seguir estudiando y por qué en EARTH?

En primer lugar busque mi superación personal para lograr ser un profesional que posea las herramientas necesarias para desempeñarse en el campo laboral y de este modo mejorar mi calidad de vida y desarrollar actividades que sean de mi agrado como lo es la agronomía.

Decidí aplicar a EARTH debido a que es una universidad que forma a profesionales de renombre internacional y específicamente porque es la única universidad que forma agentes de cambio, los cuales no piensan únicamente sobre mejorar su calidad de vida, si no que generan ideas que contribuyen al desarrollo de su comunidad, propiciando desarrollar agricultura con prácticas amigables con el medio ambiente y brindándole la importancia que se merece el capital humano.

What made you want to intern with Sustainable Harvest International?

I’ve had the chance to work and experience how poor communities live—how they have to fight for survival. A lot of the time, being in this situation makes people rely on unsustainable practices that cause great harm to the environment because they don’t know any other way. Witnessing this motivated me to look for alternatives that could help create a more sustainable balance between humans and nature. I wanted to learn how Sustainable Harvest International works to help people (and the environment) in this context, learning as much as possible so that I can apply this knowledge in the near future.

Porque quiero hacer la pasantía con Sustainable Harvest International?

Debido a mi relación con la agricultura, durante mis estudios he tenido la oportunidad de trabajar con comunidades y observar la realidad que viven, la cual no es otra más que luchar por su supervivencia desarrollando prácticas agrícolas no sostenibles y que ocasionan grandes daños al medio ambiente; esta situación me ha motivado a pensar en buscar alternativas que puedan mantener un equilibrio entre personas y medio ambiente. Dadas estas circunstancias SHI es una organización que ha estado trabajando con familias que a través del tiempo han logrado cambios significativos en la forma de desarrollar la agricultura y de allí el motivo para aprender y observar un nuevo entorno en el que si es posible obtener un equilibrio con la naturaleza sin perjudicar nuestras vidas. Mis expectativas es aprender la forma en cómo trabajan con las familias y poder aplicar estos conocimientos en un futuro.

What are your dreams?

I want to be someone important—I’d like for one thing, to be recognized as someone who contributes to the field of agricultural engineering through scientific publications and research. I’d like to become an entrepreneur who generates employment opportunities in a sustainable way. Most importantly, however, my main dream is to build a legacy for future generations.

Que sueño?

Ser alguien importante a nivel internacional por sus publicaciones científicas que aporten conocimientos a la ciencia, además de ser un empresario que genere empleo y se preocupe por el medio ambiente. Y dejar un legado a futuras generaciones.

abnder at earth



DONATE