Partner Focus: Betty and Wes Foster Family Foundation
I was in awe of the beautiful Honduran landscape as Field Trainer Jacobo Suazo drove our pick-up truck on narrow dirt paths up into the mountainous, coffee-growing countryside. Upon arrival in the small, isolated community of Brisas del Mar, I met Field Trainer Salomon Zelaya and the Garcia family. Francisco Garcia and his wife, Orbelina, were most gracious, instantly welcoming us into their modest home and offering delicious coffee sweetened with sugar cane - both of which they had grown organically on their small farm.
The Garcia family was very excited on that day because Jacobo and Salomon were there to help Francisco create and install a drip-irrigation system. I will never forget standing on their steep hillside observing this work, as Orbelina shared her gratitude and amazement that she would now be able to feed her three children year-round - even during the dry season. This was a profound and empowering realization for an impoverished mother in rural Honduras, where typically a subsistence farming family struggles to harvest enough beans each rainy season to survive the dry season.
Francisco told me: "I used to burn this land for corn. Now we have a productive garden with raised beds growing radish, mustard, onion, cabbage and pineapple growing in between the rows as a barrier and to protect the soil from erosion. We eat everything, even the greens on the radishes. My favorites are the tomatoes and green peppers. We don't have any insect problems because Salomon is working with us to control the pests using organic techniques. He's also taught us about making compost to build up the soil."
The Garcia’s are one of the seven families working with SHI in the community of Brisas del Mar, and one of the total 93 families funded as SHI participants by the Betty and Wes Foster Family Foundation.
One of the environmental challenges often faced by SHI farmers is the harsh temperature affecting many plantations during the dry season. In response, we help farmers to implement low-cost irrigation systems. Along with rainwater catchment tanks, drip-irrigation helps to guarantee food production, even in extreme temperatures.
Families in the Brisas del Mar community joined efforts to install drip-irrigation systems on family homesteads, totaling 3,500 square meters. These families expect to produce grains and vegetables throughout the year, even during the dry season, all while applying sustainable techniques.
Welcome to SHI's Harvest Blog!
We decided to launch the Harvest Blog in order to give a voice to the many great staff and volunteers working with SHI. Look forward to timely posts from our field program, Smaller World volunteers, business and community partners and others!
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Contact us if you are interested in being a guest blogger!