poverty alleviation

Hernando’s Legacy: How Future Generations Are Inspiring One Farmer To Change His Ways

Hernando’s Legacy: How Future Generations Are Inspiring One Farmer To Change His Ways

Thanks to your generous support, Hernando is transitioning to regenerative farming methods that will protect the earth and sustain us all.

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).

Parakeets and All

It had been six years since I last visited Isabel’s farm and I didn’t know what to expect. The sound of rocks scraping the bottom of the rental car had gotten worse since picking up three additional passengers. After thirty minutes of jolting along the dusty road, I was relieved when we had to walk the last quarter mile. The hedge of hibiscus preceding the path to Isabel’s house looked the same, but the farm beyond looked less abundant than I remembered. I began to worry that our efforts had been in vain.

Graduation in El Tulé!

The room was packed. Proud farming families were dressed in their best clothing. Babies were asleep in their mother’s or brother’s arms. The doors and windows were adorned with palms and bunches of plantains hung from the ceiling like chandeliers.

The families present had arrived in myriad ways—some on foot, some in the backs of trucks or on motorcycles—however they could. Each of these families began working with Sustainable Harvest International field trainers in 2008. Before working with Sustainable Harvest International, their lives were very different. The land they farmed looked different. In fact, the land where they lived looked different, too.

The graduation ceremony was a chance for these graduating families to speak directly to their peers and fellow farmers, and to the board and staff members who traveled to El Tulé to be a part of the festivities.

Meet Magnolia Rose: Our Youngest, Brightest Major Donor

You know at the beginning of the movie Annie (circa 1982), when Annie saves Sandy from the gang of ruffians who tie a string of cans to his tail? Sandy licks Annie’s cheek in gratitude and Annie deflects, saying, “I didn’t do nothing any decent person wouldn’t have done.” 

Please meet Magnolia Rose Vandiver, one of the most decent people in Maine. Magnolia’s not an orphan and her hair is not curly, red, or big like Quvenzhané Wallis’ but she does possess Annie’s sense of determination and compassion.