However, the story is far different in much of the developing world, where scientific knowledge of agriculture is limited. In Guatemala, many farmers have all but destroyed their soil in attempts to get every last bit of nutrition out. Malnutrition is prevalent, and long-term solutions have been limited.
Semilla Nueva (New Seed) is a nonprofit working to educate farmers with hopes of fostering a future of sustainable farming. I’m not so sure that I can tell the story any better than Semilla Nueva’s video:
As Executive Director Curt Bowen mentions, Guatemalan farmers have spent more and more on chemicals while yields have steadily declined. By teaching processes such as worm composting, agroforestry, green manures and conservation tillage, Semilla Nueva aims to help farmers to restore and fertilize their soil. Farmers are then encouraged to educate their neighbors about the new technologies and practices.
Semilla Nueva is currently holding a fundraiser aiming to provide 100 families across ten communities with pigeonpea seed. Learning more about this seed, you can see that its benefits are absolutely astounding.
- First, it can be grown in between existing rows of crops. Farmers will get more yield per acre, translating into a boost in income.
- The crop grows well in dry conditions and in poor quality soil.
- Pigeonpea beans are rich in protein and other nutrients that can fill the nutritional void stunting the growth of so many children in the area.
- The seed actually repairs and rejuvenates the soil by taking nitrogen from the air and leaving it in the ground.
Part of the challenge of introducing this new seed has involved encouraging local families to adopt the crop. Volunteer Anne Barkett relates that in order to fully convince the male farmers to give the seed a try, she turned to the women of the family. We’ve all heard the phrase, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Accordingly, Anne held workshops with the women to try various recipes incorporating a new food into the kitchen.
During my conversation with Curt and Anne, I was thoroughly impressed by their purpose and the scientific knowledge that they are working with. Many of the organizations I have been in touch with are affiliated in solving hunger problems in one way or another. I am convinced that Curt, Anne, and the rest of the dedicated volunteers of Semilla Nueva are on to something that will feed entire villages.
Please consider supporting Semilla Nueva:
- Visit their pigeonpea fundraiser page.
- Take a look at the Semilla Nueva website, and consider sponsoring a family.
- Share this article, and help spread the word!