Thriving in Place

Doña Zoila says, “I have food to eat and food to sell.” Using skills and practices she learned in workshops given by local partner INESIN, she is feeding her family a balanced diet and earning money for household needs.

Soil deterioration, water pollution, drought and lack of biodiversity have sharply affected her community’s traditional dependence on corn and bean crops. Family members often have to migrate to get by, so the goal of INESIN is to make it easier for people to stay put and thrive through training, technical support and small business opportunities. Participants learn, among other skills, to design and build greenhouses or wood-saving stoves and ovens; improve soil quality by making and using various types of compost; treat agricultural pests and diseases; grow and prepare a wider variety of vegetables, and raise poultry.

Doña Zoila plants vegetables such as tomatillo, zucchini, broccoli, onion, and hot peppers in her garden all year round. She says, “You can taste the difference since I stopped using chemical fertilizers.”

Like other program participants, she likes to have her small children working in her garden with her because she feels strongly that it’s important for them to see how to grow their own food and learn by doing. “My children help me carry water to the vegetables I have near the house.”

She adds, “We eat the vegetables from my home garden, and I sometimes sell them to my neighbors who come to ask. I also have another small plot near the river a half an hour away on foot. When I harvest that one, I take the produce to sell in the market. With the money I earn from my vegetables and the eggs and chickens from my chicken coop, I can buy sugar or salt and other staples. What a good feeling that is,” says Doña Zoila.

Mexico Chiapas Ocosingo Program
Led by Mennonite Central Committee and Local Partner INESIN

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