Back in October, I attended a permaculture workshop at a retreat center in upstate New York. I learned all about food forests, grafting, sheet mulching and many other agro-ecological farming techniques about which I knew little. I was surprised—and delighted!—to learn that many of these techniques are being implemented in the developing world, too.
Hundreds of local farming families in the Matagalpa region of Nicaragua were left jobless and in danger of starvation when the corporate coffee plantations that employed them closed due to the sudden collapse of coffee prices in 1999 and 2000. One community-based organization, Fundación Denis Ernesto González López (FUDEGL), saw the coffee bust as an opportunity to help local farmers gain a foothold in the Nicaraguan agriculture market.
With support from AJWS, FUDEGL now trains hundreds of farming families each year in eco-agriculture techniques like crop diversification and soil conservation. It employs a full-time agronomist to teach methods like permaculture, in which complementary ecosystems work in tandem to raise efficiency. Learn more here.