Alan, our near-neighbor of West Chester, PA, is founder and President of SosteNica. SosteNica provides multiple layers of support to Nicaraguan communities, starting with microcredit loans and reaching to hands-on initiatives in sustainable building and agriculture. Additionally, SosteNica is where our Charitable Remainder Trust is invested. For more background, visit our SosteNica page.
Alan gave us an update of SosteNica’s recent efforts in the field of agro-ecology. Alan is an avid permaculturist at home in PA, and last fall we were treated to a tour of his homestead, where he grows countless fruits and vegetables that work with nature’s cycles, building the soil and overall health of the ecosystem. The best part of the tour was that we got to sample some of the homegrown food for lunch!
Agro-ecology and permaculture are related, strategies of working with natural systems and patterns to increase environmental sustainability and minimize negative impacts. More stable farming practices — fewer pesticides, less tilling of soil, and semi-forested polycultures (as opposed to bare dirt monocrops) — result in more reliable food supply, a critically important issue in much of the world.
“We are doing work in the area of agro-ecology — helping families kick the “green revolution” habits of costly and damaging chemical dependency to produce food. The program is supporting 50 families in the Nagarote area with technical assistance and “technical accompaniment,” as well as credit, both in-kind and financial. It has a reforestation component as well as a soil improvement dimension. Part of the program targets women, and part of that is directed at promoting family gardens.”
Alan shared with us hundreds of beautiful photographs that show all the phases of this work, from educational programs with meals included to families planting seeds and using compost. The educators are all females, and will be joined by a Princeton undergrad this summer!
“Two of our star performers, Gertrudis Solis and Angela Rocha (60+) years old) are all in, making their own compost fertilizer, adopting every eco-innovation we throw at them, and getting GREAT results.”