In 1997, Florence Reed founded Sustainable Harvest International after living alongside subsistence farmers in Panama. Success stories from the past twenty years abound. We're happy to share some of our favorite stories with you today!
One fateful morning in March 1997, I was the last person to board a boat and find the last open seat on one of the long white benches that ran down each side of the open skiff. As the boat pulled away from the dock in Bocas del Toro, Panama and headed for the offshore reef, I noticed the tall man next to me. From the clean, simple cut of his attire, I guessed he was European.
“My name is Dieter,” he said, speaking loudly over the roar of the outboard motor...
BY MARIANO NARARRO, FIELD TRAINER
To me, the partnership between the Reyes family and Sustainable Harvest International is like a couple holding hands and walking together toward a common goal—a mutually enjoyable “empire.”
The goals of Sustainable Harvest International are wide and there are many branches to each of them. If the families I work with integrate the majority of what we teach, helping us to achieve these goals, I feel I’m doing my job well.
The Robinson Fresh® organics brand, Tomorrow’s® Organics, has made a three-year commitment to family growers in Central America!
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).
“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."
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.