FRB’s Mexico-Chiapas program is addressing challenges of poor nutrition, poverty, and loss of population from migration due to global policies beyond the control of the community. The program promotes food security by supporting families’ organic crops, fruit trees, and vegetable gardens.
Access to water is limited, so efforts are focused on collecting water in tanks for irrigating staple crops like beans and corn, and water conservation practices in family gardens. Many families are cultivating depleted land, and are benefiting from training on:
Workshops that improve utilization of what families grow, and encourage participants to start small businesses for income, have included fruit and vegetable canning, bread and pizza making, homemade ham production, and growing and using medicinal herbs.
Loren, a staff member for the local organization INESIN, reports interesting ways in which entire families are involved in growing their own food. Once, when she was selling seeds in a community, two boys approached her, asking for a packet of seeds each. The oldest one said, “I want you to write down my name and my brother’s name because we are going to plant the seeds and take care of the plants. My mom’s plants are a different thing. This is going to be what my brother and I do. We are going to save our money until the next time you come and we’ll pay you.” He came closer and watched her write down their names and their debts of 3 pesos each (about 25 cents apiece).
Participant families are successfully improving their health with a more varied and nutritious diet, the need to migrate has been reduced, and community groups are initiating their own projects and promoting the work to other families and communities.
Mexico-Chiapas encompasses 7 communities, 150 households, and 900 individuals.