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.
Overheard At The Canning Workshop
Anyone who has ever taken part in a group activity like preparing food knows that the best part is the conversation and camaraderie as people peel, chop, mix, and package. A recent vegetable canning workshop given by local partner INESIN was no different.
Seven women and four youngsters worked together preserving pickled chilies, hot sauce and jams. They learned how to sterilize jars, fill them and seal them so they can keep their delicious food for months without refrigeration. While they worked, they got to talking about the difference growing vegetables has made in their lives. Here is what a few of them had to say:
Otelina. Before we took part in this program, we didn’t know how much value there is in saving every scrap of vegetable matter on our farm for making organic compost. We didn’t collect and use cow and goat manure, either, but now the kids know we should take advantage of everything.
Jaime. We have a big vegetable garden now, but before this we used to listen for the sound of the vegetable seller’s cart and bought a few things. Sure, we grew some things, but not like we do now. We received seeds for vegetables we’d never even heard of before. This has changed the way my family eats. We have a greenhouse, and we sow, fertilize, harvest and eat a wider variety now. I don’t buy vegetables any more because we have so much within easy reach at home now.
Juana. When I was a child my family made and sold bread, but firewood cost so much I started looking for alternative income sources like making tamales or selling clothes. I had never thought of working with my husband and children on growing and selling vegetables, but now it’s our way of life. Thank you for giving us this idea! We grow a lot in our greenhouse. My husband likes planting and tending the tomatoes, my sons help me water, and my daughters take care of the chickens. Each of the children has asked for a little piece of land to plant and care for, and they are so happy to sell what they harvest to contribute to our family wellbeing.
Mexico Chiapas Ocosingo Program
Led by Mennonite Central Committee and Local Partner INESIN