One Honduran participant farmer in El Tule, Santa Barbara has begun to reforest his farm one row at a time.
Every afternoon Don Jesus carefully packs a dozen tree seedlings from the community tree nursery on the back of his horse. He leads the horse out to his farm with his children, where they run a piece of twine from one end of the farm to the next. Then they follow the line, carefully planting the seedlings along the contours of the slope. Each week, these rows fill in more of the open space of the farm and begin reforesting the area.
This past fiscal year, rural families working with SHI-Nicaragua improved 1,000 acres through sustainable farming, agroforestry and reforestation. Families planted a variety of tree and fruit species in their mixed-use forests, including avocado, oranges, star apple (Chrysophyllum cainito), peach palm, rambutan and partridge wood (Andira inermis). Families are planting green manures and cover crops in and around their basic grains, like corn, beans and taro, to improve nitrogen levels in the soil and reduce weed growth.
Families in Nicaragua are optimistic about their future and the techniques they have implemented. Isabel Gamez of El Panchon says, “I have diversified my farm and implemented organic farming techniques that benefit my family.”
Lastly, SHI-Nicaragua put the finishing touches on its 15.5 acre demonstration farm, Center for the Family and the Environment. Staff, community members and participants can enjoy the Center as it serves the public and improves the farming techniques taught to participants.
In the last year, SHI-Belize has successfully planted 80,000 multi-use trees on over 350 acres. With the support of SHI’s field trainers, the program’s 323 participants have further honed their skills and understanding of sustainable agriculture. We worked with families to integrate pig pens with fish ponds in order to recycle nutrients and waste, and minimize contamination of the local environment.
Country Director, Nana Mensah, and staff have been developing training curriculum for staff and participant families. As a result of much hard work, the program was recently selected to be the recipient of a grant from Annie’s Naturals to fund one full-time field trainer to work closely with schools in Toledo and Stann Creek Districts. Educating the youth of Southern Belize on the benefits of sustainable agriculture and livelihoods is the next step to creating a healthy, sustainable community in Belize.
In the past, a lot of promising organizations came to our village and worked for a little while but most of the time, nothing was done. It was not until SHI-Belize, which many of us had heard of and had long waited for, accepted the invitation to work with our village of Sunday Wood, that we had hope. We had heard and seen what SHI accomplished in the other villages, so we did not need to think twice about working with them.
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Voices from the Field