My friend Kelly Burns works with the SHARE Foundation in El Salvador and recently posted on her blog "Guacamole Chronicles" an essay she wrote about a project which SHARE helps support to teach Salvadoran farmers techniques of organic agriculture. Here's an excerpt:
Raul Morataya says he stopped using chemical fertilizers and insecticides five years ago when he began having liver problems attributed to his exposure to harmful chemicals. He said he tried growing the first year without anything and lost nearly his entire crop to worms. He started asking around and got some tips from different people on ways to grow naturally. He spent the previous day at a workshop on organic growing techniques. He says he’s excited about what he’s learned, but also feels encouraged that other people are out there doing the same thing. The group says that when they first started, people laughed at them. They didn’t believe you could grow crops without heavy-duty chemical pesticides and fertilizers. They said they knew the chemicals were not good for them, but they had always been told it was the only way. Blanca Estela Ramirez, admits that she wasn’t sure at first either, but that she had had success raising cattle with the ACAMG Cooperative, another SHARE partner, so was willing to give it a try. “I believe it now,” she says. Many in the group say that they joined the program out of desperation. Chemical growing is expensive and the genetically-modified seeds don't reproduce which means you have to buy new seeds every year. They were skeptical, but also out of options. Now, they say that sometimes it seems too good to be true, that they can grow their food without poisoning themselves; not in the growing, nor the eating.(more)
Kelly's work with SHARE in El Salvador is funded by the Volunteer Missionary Movement. Read more about VMM here. (I should also mention that I'm a Board member of VMM, and encourage everyone to support its work through volunteers like Kelly).