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!
Rafael Rodríguez and María Hernández are making changes that impact their entire community. From their innovative greenhouse with its super efficient irrigation system, to the wood-conserving stoves that are conserving trees and reducing health risks, this couple is paving the way for a bright future in La Candelaria, Panama.
Originally from Colombia, Maria is one of three interns from EARTH University working with Sustainable Harvest International this fall. Maria is conducting her research in Panama. Here, Maria shares her passion for her home and work and vision for the future with us.
We recently published a post by Steve Richards about his time as chair of our board of directors. Now, our incoming board chair, Charlotte Dougherty, chimes in to describe her experience with Sustainable Harvest International and her vision for our future. Charlotte writes:
“On that first night of my 2011 visit, I listened to the laughter, squeals, and giggles of the children and their parents as we all settled down to sleep. I was witnessing real improvement, real change in people’s lives as a direct result of working with Sustainable Harvest International.”
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.
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.