During the past fiscal year, SHI- Panamá expects to graduate 27 families in the communities of Bella Florida, Los Alonsos, La Cabuya, and La Mata, and begin incorporating new families into already participating communities.
Staff have received several trainings in collaboration with APOCHI, a collective of organic producers in Chiriqui, and is introducing families to nutrient dense crops like amaranth (calaloo). Over the next several months, we will be working to integrate various projects according to nutrient flow in order to produce zero waste. Systems will vary but consist of pig pens, duck and fish ponds, vegetable gardens and rice paddies.
During the last fiscal year ’09, we converted 174 acres to sustainable land use, installed more than 45 wood-conserving stoves, and provided direct market access for families through various local farmers markets and fairs.
SHI-Nicaragua continues its development of the Demonstration Farm in Bluefields. We recently broke ground on the main office/ dormitory structure, and are in the process of creating an integrated farm plan that will feature garden plots where local street children can plant vegetables and enjoy the nutritious harvest. Several families in the Kukra River zone are expected to graduate soon and we will begin work with more families. With the support of several organizations and local universities, we have developed new techniques to improve soil fertility and crop production.
Recently, we improved market access for families by installing a farm stand in Bluefields where families from Kukra River can sell their produce. The farmer’s market occurs every 15 days, and offers a wide variety of products including more than 30 vegetable and fruit varieties, organic compost, biofertilizer and more.
Antonio Ramirez and his family have been working with Sustainable Harvest since July 2008. He is married with 5 children. Prior to working with SHI, he was only growing basic crops, like corn, beans, cassava and some coffee. Now working with his field trainer, Jorge Rodriguez, he has diversified his plot with different vegetables like tomato, cabbage, onion, beets, mustard, pepper and watermelons, as well as coffee and timber-yielding trees.
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Voices from the Field