Ten years ago, Carlos Sandoval believed synthetic agrichemicals were the key to productive farming, but that was before he discovered a safer, cheaper, and more accessible solution. Today, Carlos dreams of changing how his entire community farms.
It had been six years since I last visited Isabel’s farm and I didn’t know what to expect. The sound of rocks scraping the bottom of the rental car had gotten worse since picking up three additional passengers. After thirty minutes of jolting along the dusty road, I was relieved when we had to walk the last quarter mile. The hedge of hibiscus preceding the path to Isabel’s house looked the same, but the farm beyond looked less abundant than I remembered. I began to worry that our efforts had been in vain.
The room was packed. Proud farming families were dressed in their best clothing. Babies were asleep in their mother’s or brother’s arms. The doors and windows were adorned with palms and bunches of plantains hung from the ceiling like chandeliers.
The families present had arrived in myriad ways—some on foot, some in the backs of trucks or on motorcycles—however they could. Each of these families began working with Sustainable Harvest International field trainers in 2008. Before working with Sustainable Harvest International, their lives were very different. The land they farmed looked different. In fact, the land where they lived looked different, too.
The graduation ceremony was a chance for these graduating families to speak directly to their peers and fellow farmers, and to the board and staff members who traveled to El Tulé to be a part of the festivities.