History of SHI
The mission of Sustainable Harvest International (SHI) is to provide farming families in Central America with the training and tools to preserve our planet's tropical forests while overcoming poverty.
Founded in 1997 by Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Florence Reed (right), Sustainable Harvest International addresses the tropical deforestation crisis in Central America by providing farmers with sustainable alternatives to slash-and-burn agriculture.
While serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama in the early 1990's, Florence Reed learned that tropical deforestation has a tragic human component. Desperate farmers longed for practical training to protect local forests and restore degraded lands. Not only concerned with increased agricultural yields, these farmers also wanted to leave a healthy ecosystem for future generations. Reed extensively researched sustainable alternatives to slash-and-burn farming during her Peace Corp tenure. Together, Reed and the Panamanian farmers met with considerable success in implementing these practices.
Upon finishing her Peace Corps service, Reed sought to build upon the tremendous potential to create significant and permanent change throughout Central America. In Honduras, she met with a group of villages that wanted to implement sustainable techniques. Reed then cultivated interest in the project among a group of concerned university professors, small business owners, a member of the New Hampshire Belize teachers exchange, and non-profit executives. They formed a Board of Directors and Sustainable Harvest International was incorporated as a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization in May 1997. By then, SHI's first two field trainers had begun work in rural Honduras.
Since 1997, SHI has expanded its reach from the one program in Honduras to also include programs in Panama, Belize and Nicaragua. SHI has since established independent affiliates in Honduras, Nicaragua and Belize which, after a transition period, become responsible for their own management and funding. SHI thus facilitates implementation of a program that allows poor farmers to take responsibility for reversing environmental degradation and achieving economic viability within their own countries.
PHOTO: SHI President & Founder, Florence Reed and Ermita plant Leucaena (Leadtrees) - Belize, 2001