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Why Support SHI?

Ready? Donate Now.OUR MISSION
Sustainable Harvest International (SHI) provides farming families in Central America with the training and tools to preserve our planet’s tropical forests while overcoming poverty.

"The world’s number of malnourished people has increased from 190 million in 2007 to 210 million in late 2009 due to climbing food prices and economic recession." ~ International Labor Organization, 2009

"Approximately 2.6 billion people – men, women and children – rely on agricultural production systems, be it farming, livestock production, forestry or fishery." ~ Agriculture at a Crossroads’ Global Report, IAASTD, 2009

"Indoor air pollution from the use of solid fuels is a major killer. It claims the lives of 1.5 million people each year, more than half of them below the age of five: that is 4,000 deaths a day." ~ Millennium Development Goals Report, 2007

Sustainable Harvest International (SHI) sees the importance of small-scale, organic farming both as a means to ensure food sovereignty and to improve quality of living while restoring the natural environment. We take a hands-on, long-term approach to ensuring healthy food and forests for farming families through the work of our affiliate programs in Honduras, Nicaragua, Belize and Panama.

SHI’s grassroots approach of hiring local staff and promoting cooperative sharing of knowledge and resources serves to break the cycle of paternalism for small-scale producers in the developing world.

Sustainable Harvest International is committed to using every penny possible to continue our program and reach the many families on our waiting list. This commitment to strong fiscal efficiency ensures the longevity of our programs and our relationship with the donors that make it possible. You can feel confident that each and every donation has a tremendous impact for the families in Central America and our planet.

In addition to providing donors with all the necessary documentation for claiming tax-deductions, SHI supports donors in other ways, including:

  • Offering donors assistance with a variety of charitable giving instruments to best benefit the donors, their families and our world.
  • Standing fully behind the accuracy of information sent to donors from the field about the needs and outcomes of our work.
  • Responding to donors’ inquiries promptly, honestly, and as fully as possible.

Since 1997, Sustainable Harvest International has been developing expertise in sustainable agriculture and agroforestry. Each of our country programs has demonstrated consistent success in providing the technical assistance and tools to permanently improve the lives of their program participants. SHI puts an emphasis on developing techniques that are appropriate to the geographic and cultural realities of the communities. As a result of this model, our country programs regularly report dramatic improvements of living standards with simultaneous preservation and restoration of countless acres of habitat.

Rather than promoting human development at the expense of the planet, SHI promotes a healthy relationship to the natural world that benefits, not only the small-scale farmers, but all people and the planet as a whole. These core elements of our program and others ensure that a donation to SHI helps people prosper and the environment remain preserved for generations to come.

Your support will provide a myriad of benefits for families. It’s important to recognize that as their nutritional and economic lives improve, there are improvements in other areas.  For instance, increased income allows for such things as:

  • Schoolgirls in BelizeChildren attending school for more years
  • More gender equality
  • Increased access to health services, including family planning
  • Decreased economic migration
  • Improved housing

At the same time, improved farming practices that include reforestation, agroforestry and forest reserves lead to:

  • A more stable local and global climate
  • A more stable water cycle (less droughts and flooding)
  • Less losses from natural disasters (i.e. landslides and flooding due to hurricanes & earthquakes)
  • Less poisoning from pesticide use
  • Less contamination of ground and surface water resources
  • Decreased erosion and sedimentation of shoreland zones
  • Long-term commitment to preserving the environment

SHI's impact continues to be deeply felt in the day-to-day lives of rural families and communities.  While SHI typically works directly with each family for five years, the benefits of learning these methods will last for generations. The outcomes for these families, as well as for society, are based on improving the quality of their lives and the quality of the environment at the same time.

Some of the strategies that contribute to SHI’s success include:

  • Working only with people who have requested our technical assistance
  • Encouraging participants to decide which new methods will work best for them instead of using a cookie-cutter approach
  • Working with local institutions and hiring local experts
  • Providing regular, long-term technical assistance until participants are comfortable using the new techniques on their own
  • Focus on projects that use available and appropriate materials with an emphasis on long-term sustainability.

Before working with Sustainable Harvest International, I didn’t think about the importance of the trees, the rivers, and everything that we have all around us, but now that I am conscious of how important natural resources are, I have begun to take action to preserve the forest.

~ Gregorio Olivas, SHI-Nicaragua Participant

Since I’ve been working with Sustainable Harvest International, I’ve been able to improve my children’s nutrition. Before all we had for food was rice and beans, but now we have cabbages, tomatoes, sweet peppers, cucumbers, mustard seed, onions, beetroot and carrots. We’re better off because we don’t need to buy anything anymore, and we can even manage to sell part of what we harvest. All we need is our hands and the decision to make changes in our lives - for our own well being and that of the environment.

~ Vicenta Mejía, SHI-Honduras Participant

"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.

Today it is like a dream that has came true.  Ever since I started to work with SHI Field Trainer Herminio Sho, I have changed our way of living.  I planted over 300 plantain and banana suckers (young banana plants), over 250 coconuts seedlings of different varieties and started to raise local chickens. SHI has built us a wood conserving stove and a timber and fruit tree nursery.  We are so happy now because we never could get this help from another organization, until SHI-Belize.

I thank you a million times.  What we have learned and what you have given us will not be forgotten, nor will it be lost.  We will continue to maintain and practice sustainable and organic agriculture."

~ Pablo Salam, SHI-Belize Participant

"Sustainable Harvest has changed my life because it taught me to work together with other people and work better.  I have learned many good things, like how to make compost and compost bins, that I should plant sugar cane in measured rows, how plant and care for a organic vegetable garden and to make a wood-conserving stove.  I am planting using the techniques that my Field Trainer taught me and am carrying out agricultural work I did not know about before.  I am thrilled with the program for all that it has offered my life.  Thank you Sustainable Harvest International!”

~ Ramiro Pérez, SHI-Panama Participant

"SHI is our favorite organization to support. They are well run and have a grounded, workable knowledge of what can be done to help improve the lives of those they serve. In fact they serve us all. The impact of their work affects not only farmers in Central America, but also their families, communities, countries, and ultimately it plays it's part in the sustainability of our global ecosystem. SHI thinks globally, acts locally. Their hearts are in the right place. Please support them if you can."

~ Melinda & Kevin, SHI Supporters