As an organization, we are committed to improving nutrition in every region where we work. To do that, we invest ourselves in empowering people to grow their own food. We recently sent a group of Latin America team members -- members who have studied and practiced agriculture -- to offer an educational workshop on foundational topics related to food production to rural youth who work as subsistence farmers with their families.
In the workshop, the participants got to both see the techniques demonstrated and practice them for themselves. In the first part of the workshop, we gathered on the land of our own property. There they received basic information on root systems and soil health, learning how important soil-preparation is for healthy root systems. We taught a technique called double digging, a soil-preparation technique we have used with great success in our own gardens at our Tennessee headquarters.
After the initial demonstration on our land, it was time for practice! The following day, the team visited the homes of some of the participants to assist them in preparing beds on their own land, providing a total of 180 square feet of prepared ground ready to grow food. We formed great relationships through this process which will open more opportunities in the future to continue this educational track.
The workshops also taught information on basic nutrition. Malnourishment is prevalent in El Salvador (around 40% of rural Salvadorans suffer from chronic malnutrition). Many people don’t know what nutrients their body needs to function, and physicians do little to educate their patients in this regard.
Information about nutrition is especially urgent for pregnant mothers. Lorena--one of our cooperatives--is in her first trimester of pregnancy. We were very grateful that we got the opportunity to expand her knowledge on what fruits and vegetables would best supply her with the most-needed nutrients for her particular situation. So while her husband, Antonio, learned how to grow food at the workshop, outside the workshop we were able to also personally teach Lorena what food would best supply her family’s needs! If they didn’t grow their own food, they would have to walk long distances to a nearby city to get the produce they needed.
The workshop was a great success. We concluded the time with a Bible Study. The participants eagerly expressed their thankfulness and recognized the responsibility to share the knowledge they gained with others. It was a great start to what will prove to be a long and fruitful road of empowering others with the knowledge and skills to turn their own land into garden, one that will produces life in more ways than one.