Mexico Chiapas Ocosingo
$25,000 needed of $50,000
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC)
The Mexican state of Chiapas has abundant natural wealth, but as a result of social and political factors, most rural families face extreme poverty. There are few opportunities for employment, and farming is challenging. Most families do not have access to irrigation or training on agricultural techniques that are well suited to this drought prone region. This program builds off of the success and learning of the local partner, INESIN, in their previous program in the region. INESIN is now working alongside six more communities in Chiapas, near the municipality of Ocosingo. Through this program farmers are receiving training on conservation agriculture, rain water harvesting, patio gardening, healthy cooking, using medicinal plants, community organizing, and leadership skills.
Neighbor Solidarity Turns Dreams into Reality
As staff members from FRB’s local partner in the Mexico Chiapas Ocosingo program, INESIN. travel among the communities to hold training sessions, they are touched by the generosity of the families. “They always give you the best. Many times, this is something that we forget to do in the cities, to share our food, our house, with anyone who comes.”
Participants often come a long way on foot to attend workshops on conservation agriculture, rainwater harvesting, patio gardening, healthy cooking, using medicinal plants, community organizing, and leadership skills. Typically, the workshop host families offer a meal so people don’t go home hungry, or participants bring food from their gardens to share. “It is important to them to share the life and abundance of food that Mother Earth has gifted us,” say INESIN staff members. Such sharing represents community ownership of the program – everyone gives something in return for participating.
Improving crop yields and nutrition is the focus of the program, but an even greater benefit comes from the opportunity for far-flung neighbors to be together, learn from each other, establish friendships, and share hope that their dreams of building a good life from farming can become reality.
INESIN staff says, “Whenever we do group visits to gardens, there is always some kind of exchange happening with medicinal plants, ornamental plants, and seeds. Since the project began, we have seen significant changes in relationships within the working groups. There is greater cohesion and confidence, and many groups are showing solidarity by supporting each other in their gardens.”
Caption: Elena makes a medicinal tincture for her husband’s cough
Led by Mennonite Central Committee
6 Communities, 150 Households, 4,003 Individuals