Rosa’s father left his legacy in the grove of threatened trees on their family farm. Now, these special trees are playing a vital role in reforestation efforts.
We hold an annual Sustainability Fair on the Saturday before the Super Bowl, so we call it Super Saturday. That way everyone remembers when it is. It is a huge community event where we showcase our environmental efforts and invite people from the community in to learn about environmental stewardship and connecting with our local ecosystem.
“As a farmer, one of the effects of global warming I’ve noticed is how this once abundant brook has lost so much of its volume. It used to have many different species like shrimp, bream, and sardines. You can see how low it is now. The life it had is gone.
So, what do I want to say about this? We’re worried. The challenge for us is that we have to care for the planet. This affects all of us—children, teenagers, adults, and older people like me…we’re all in trouble."
“What would your grandfather think if he saw the way you’re farming it now?” we ask.
Joaquín looks out at the farm and chuckles. His laugh, like his voice, is quiet, gentle, and slightly wheezy.
“He’d laugh,” he says, with a twinkle in his eye. He’d laugh because Joaquín’s farm looks nothing like it did back in the early 1990’s.
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.