The Agro-Ecological Center

An ear of sweet corn before the stalk is folded over to dry in the sun.

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.

Ricardo shows the seedlings that will be planted in the garden.

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.

Our volunteer Owen describes the organic garden that is being cultivated in the Center.

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.

The beehives which produce pure honey from the cultivated and wild flowering plants in and around 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.

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3 thoughts on “The Agro-Ecological Center

  1. Owen, My name is Jeff Gibson. I am a close personal friend of your Uncle Joe Howard. (Went to the UI together, “camping dad.” ) I work for the Ball Horitcultural Company. (www.ballhort.com) Ball is one of the largest distributors of flower and vegetable seed to commercial greenhouse growers in the world. We typically offer only home garden type vegetable, not commericial, large scale ag crop seeds. We have a long history of seed donations to groups like Fundahamer. The usual issue related to these types of donations are getting the seeds into the country. If you were able to provide a location that we could send donated seed to that could then be taken to El Salvador, we could provide you with vegetable seeds for your farm as a donation. (Tomatoes, peppers, beans, lettuce’s/cabbages, carrots, squash, etc.) Please let me know if you would be interested.

  2. Hi, Jeff. Thanks for your interest and support of this effort! Owen is on the land with no internet access during the week, but we will make sure he sees it when he comes in and ask him to get back to you.

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