Inspiring Reflections from the Board Trip
The EPIC Board’s visit included family members, promoting greater understanding for all of us! As some of you have experienced, Paul and Mary packed the schedule full, not wanting us to miss anything! After visiting the school garden in Santa Rosa, the Board hiked to meet with all of the educators, hear from Juana and Salvador about the Mayan culture and their work, visit the garden of Marcela and Santo, and hear reports of the diagnostic survey from Armando (one of the new generation of leaders). This excitement continues to emerge in each new area where EPIC supports sustainable agriculture!
Salvador, FUNDAMARCOS Educator: “I use to cut trees on my land also, before I learned their value. I would clear one area and farm it, then move to another area and cut the trees there. Now I realize the value of trees to protect the ground and provide shade, and I integrate trees in my land and farming. It helps when I can show by example when we explain the value of trees. Then people are willing to work to plant seeds, and care for them in a nursery. And when you’ve done that, you will give more effort to plant properly so the trees survive. They become like a child that you care for!”
Marcela: “This land was eroded, and nothing would grow. If we tried to plant seeds, the rains would wash them away, so it seemed futile. Two years ago I started learning about contour barriers, and how to protect the soil. And now you see the vegetables, and strawberries, and so much more that is growing where there use to be nothing! We also tried to grow coffee, but learned that we are too high and it gets too cold. Because we try new ideas in small ways, it was a success to learn before investing much in coffee!”
Armando, FUNDAMARCOS Coordinator: “When we surveyed families in the new area, we were surprised to learn that their corn and bean harvests only lasted a few months before they were forced to buy these staples. They paid for it by leaving the community to work in the coffee or sugar cane harvest. With new techniques they will be able to improve their corn and bean harvests and integrate other crops as well. That is what gives me hope for our country, to help people learn to thrive rather than leave!”