Foods Resource Bank’s Guatemala-Sibinal program #0107
Led by Mennonite Central Committee with local partner MCC Guatemala
In an area of western Guatemala prone to natural disasters, where gold mining is taking its toll on environment and society, deeply spiritual Mayan communities are restoring their independence and returning to Mother Earth. The Sibinal program focuses on organic farming, community development, education, food security and sustainable livelihoods as it responds to the crisis of large families living on insufficient land.
“Promoter” couples like Mari and Arnulfo learn sustainable solutions to local farming challenges, then train others in a “campesino a campesino” (farmer to farmer) strategy. They encourage their neighbors to practice soil conservation through terracing on the steep slopes, and to rescue indigenous farming practices and native plants.
Mari and Arnulfo used to grow everything with chemicals but are gradually changing to organic – a five-year process. They collect manure and urine saved from the upgraded cow pen to use as organic fertilizer. The urine also serves as insecticide on cabbage, broccoli and potatoes. Mari and Arnufo produce their own seedlings (broccoli, cauliflower, onions, chard, tomatoes and lettuce). Their potting soil is made up of 25% bocashi* fertilizer, 25% worm castings from their vermiculture practice, and 50% leaves. Mari and Arnulfo are able to earn a little i
ncome from selling seedlings to a nearby community after satisfying their own and their neighbors’ needs.
This program has been supported by FRB's Community Growing Projects. For more information or to support this program or others like it, please visit the Overseas Program page on our website www.foodsresourcebank.org