La Misión Cristiana has just completed the first year of a project designed to provide greater food security for communities in the Western region of Nicaragua. The food security project was such a success that they are aiming to expand it to the Eastern region in the coming year. “Food security” is a fancy technical term for making sure everyone has enough to eat. In rural Nicaragua two out of every three people subsist on less than $2 a day, which means that hunger is still a very real problem.
The project has three components. First, La Misión has set up seed banks in seven of the small farming communities where their churches are located. The seed banks provide corn, red bean and sorghum seeds to farmers with the agreement that they will repay 125% of the seeds they receive after the harvest. This structure ensures that the project can continue and benefit more families the following year. The bank focuses in particular on farmers who own small plots of land or who rent land to farm (sharecroppers) -- the poorest of the poor, in other words. Many of these farmers could not have afforded to farm otherwise and may have left to find work outside the community.
Church leaders in the Western Region meet to review the re-collection of seeds after the first year's harvest.
The other components of the project involve the gift, to each family in the local churches, of five fruit tree seedlings (3 mango and 2 orange trees) and enough vegetable seeds (tomatoes, onions, peppers, cucumbers and watermelon) to plant a substantial backyard garden. This past weekend, we accompanied a group of pastors and church leaders in a training on how to properly plant and tend a vegetable garden and heard first-hand how the project is already taking root. Here are a few pictures.
In order to load the delivery truck, the fruit tree seedlings had to be brought out by ox-cart.
Delivering the seedlings to church families.
Here's Quinn playing in the type of mango tree the seedlings will one day become. We can confirm that the mangoes are delicious!
Sonia delivering the vegetable garden seeds to the church families.
Josue, Darling and Edgar sort the veggie seeds into individual bags for delivery (with a little help from Quinn).
Don Hector, an agricultural engineer who works with la Misión, gives a training on the proper care and management of vegetable gardens.