Fundahmer’s Agro-Ecological Center is located in the community of Los Naranjos in the Department of La Libertad. The project is administrated by Jose Gomez and directly managed by Ricardo Ochoa. Broadly defined, the purpose of the Center is to address issues of agricultural sustainability and food sovereignty, issues which are integrally connected to Fundahmer’s work in accompanying rural communities in El Salvador. The people of these communities are immediately and adversely affected by an industrial and chemically intensive model of agriculture promoted by transnational corporations. It is these people whose livelihoods are threatened when the land they depend on is exhausted by large scale monoculture production or contaminated by chemical fertilizers. It is these people who are exposed to the health risks of working with chemical pesticides or herbicides on the farms where they work as wage laborers. It is these people whose food security is threatened when foreign multinationals aggressively promote their genetically modified seeds.
While the Agro-Ecological Center is in its early stages, it is already producing a significant amount of organic food, including corn th staple grain of the country. We are also cultivating an organic vegetable garden, containing tomatoes, peppers, green beans, cucumber, and beets. In addition, the Center is home to a variety of fruit trees, including papaya, mango, lemon, and banana, plus a growing number of beehives producing honey.
The long-term goal of the Center is to serve as an educational resource and a functioning model of sustainable agriculture, holding workshops and courses on various organic farming practices. This would enable and encourage small scale agricultural producers to implement these sustainable practices in their own communities, in turn making these communities more self-reliant and ecologically healthy. The primary obstacle in realizing this goal is to develop a structure appropriate for hosting visitors to the Center.
Currently there are not sufficient funds to actively pursue this goal, so our efforts are focused on sustaining the work that is already underway: keeping the land productive, healthy, and rich in biological diversity. However, we are also researching grants and funding possibilities that could support our long-term vision for the Center. If you become aware of any funding opportunities feel free to bring them to our attention.
Read all blog entries about the Agro-Ecological Center here.