2021–22 Report: Food 4 Farmers

2022 donation: $40,000
Donations to date: $140,000

Our donations allowed Food 4 Farmers (F4F) to partner with six cooperatives representing over 6,200 coffee-farming families in Latin America and increase their food security. F4F‘s goals: teach climate-smart practices, strengthen local food systems, improve incomes, reduce deforestation, restore local ecosystems, and create a healthier planet.

Industrial agriculture is responsible for about 80 percent of all tropical deforestation globally. F4F aims to disrupt this trend by helping small-scale farmers transform their monoculture farms into sustainable operations that provide food and income security without the need for increased acreage.

Through their Home Garden Program, F4F’s families maintain almost 900 gardens and care for more than 120,000 replanted trees — using sustainable farming practices, including the making of organic compost and pesticides, growing a diverse range of organic food crops, improving soil health, using agroforestry to restore biodiversity, and building low-cost water management systems to sustain gardens through dry seasons. Their Beekeeper and Farmers Markets Program helps to diversify the farmers' incomes and reduce their dependence on a single commodity crop (coffee) by helping them establish supplemental on-farm businesses which have the added benefit of reforesting land to provide pollinators with food and shelter. And their Community Promoter  Program  trains and empowers young women and men to bring  these climate-smart  techniques from the workshops to the farms and ensure the farmers thrive long term.

In 2022, F4F was very productive. In Huehuetenango, Guatemala, the farmers produced 106,483 pounds of honey, were provided new varieties of seeds to increase food diversity, and experimented with edible mushrooms as a potential new crop — with one farmer offering up a room in her house to be an oyster mushroom “lab.” In Cauca, Colombia, the COMPEPCAFE cooperative organized two food celebrations, allowing 182 families to exchange food, recipes, seeds and climate-smart farming techniques (while having the added benefit of showcasing the success of the programs to the entire community). In Quiche, Guatemala, the Maya Ixil cooperative replaced 168 beehives that were lost in the 2020 hurricanes and couldn’t keep up with the subsequent demand for honey (the farmers need new containers to support sales). In Chiapas, Mexico, 26 women have established several home gardens — with one group harvesting 17 pounds of radishes, 22 pounds of cucumbers, 17 pounds of potatoes and 66 pounds of chayote (a gourd that is a cross between a potato and a cucumber). And in Jinotega, Nicaragua, 39 home gardens are now active, 36 women are selling their produce at the Mercadito Nutri-Hogar — a women-run organic farmers market — and the recently built nursery is being used to train farmers how to multiply their crops, integrate fruit trees (called intercropping), increase bio-diversity, and improve the quality of their other crops.

Over the next year F4F will expand and strengthen their school garden programs, train 750 families at five co-operatives how to conserve and manage water (through collection, storage, conservation, and sanitation practices), and continue to engage women and young people to lead their communities to healthier diets, stronger local economies, and climate-smart farming practices.

2020-21 Report: Food 4 Farmers

2021 donation: $50,000
Donations to date: $100,000

Our donations allowed Food 4 Farmers (F4F) to partner with six cooperatives representing over 8,400 coffee-farming families in Latin America and increase their food security. F4F's goals: teach climate-smart practices, strengthen local food systems, improve incomes, reduce deforestation, restore local ecosystems, and create a healthier planet.

Industrial agriculture is responsible for about 80 percent of all tropical deforestation globally. F4F aims to disrupt this trend by helping small-scale farmers transform their monoculture farms into sustainable operations that provide food and income security without the need for increased acreage. Through their Home Garden Program, F4F teaches sustainable farming practices, including the making of organic compost and pesticides, growing a diverse range of organic food crops, improving soil health, using agroforestry to restore biodiversity, and building low-cost water management systems to sustain gardens through dry seasons. Then, to help diversify the farmers' incomes and reduce their dependence on a single commodity crop, their Beekeeper and Farmers Markets Programs help them establish supplemental on-farm businesses — which have the added benefit of reforesting land to provide pollinators with food and shelter. And to ensure long-term sustainability, their Community Promoter Programs train and empower young women and men to bring these climate-smart techniques to more families and support their progress.

In 2021, F4F was very productive. In Huehuetenango, Guatemala, five new community promoters were hired to help 100 beekeepers establish and maintain their home gardens after the number of farmers in the program doubled. In Quiche, Guatemala, F4F helped plant 25,500 fruit trees, seedlings, cover crops, and six types of vegetables at 198 member farms and home gardens. In Mexico, the Apicultores Real del Triunfo beekeeping group at the CESMACH Co-op secured two contracts for 17 tons of honey — at their best price ever — and were able to pay beekeepers in advance for the first time. In Cauca, Colombia, F4F added 150 families to their agroforestry program, provided them with 16,875 fruit trees and other plants, and set up three demonstration farms to help local co-ops teach families how to diversify their farms in remote areas. And in Jinotega, Nicaragua, they added nine new schools to their school garden program (bringing the total number of schools to 13 and reaching 2,600 students), provided 55,400 trees and other plants to 230 families, and began training 17 Community Promoters (in conjunction with a local NGO) with the goal of providing successful students with a certificate in rural entrepreneurship from the National Institute of Technology.

Over the next year, F4F plans to expand and strengthen their school garden programs, add 500 families to their home garden program, and continue to engage women and young people to lead their communities to healthier diets, stronger local economies, and climate-smart farming practices.

2019-20 Report: Food 4 Farmers

Donation: $50,000

Our donation allowed Food 4 Farmers (F4F) to teach climate-smart practices to six co-operatives representing more than 8,000 coffee-farming families in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Columbia. Their goals: to strengthen local food systems, stabilize incomes, reduce deforestation, and enhance food security.

F4F educates farmers in three interconnected ways. Their Home Garden Program teaches local farmers how to ensure seed diversity, produce organic compost and pesticides, prevent soil erosion, and construct low-cost water management systems. Their Beekeeping and Farmers Market Programs help farmers generate supplemental income, replace processed foods and sugar with healthier alternatives, and create new local job opportunities. And their Community Promotor Program trains and empowers young women and men from each community to teach climate-smart techniques to more families, monitor existing programs, and solve problems as they arise — ensuring the long-term sustainability of the project.

So far, working with their six co-op partners, F4F has established 373 organic home gardens in Nicaragua and Columbia. In Mexico, 86 beekeepers saw a 41 percent increase in income due to improved honey quality and are now looking to gain an organic certification and expand their businesses. In Guatemala, 13 new beekeepers were added to the 36 already operating, and a nursery has been created to provide pollinator-friendly plants to the program participants for free. In addition, F4F provided 230 families with basic literacy training to help them improve the management of their farms, trained 29 new food security and beekeeping promotors, and developed four school gardens in Nicaragua (aimed at teaching 29 teachers and 657 students and their parents about good nutrition and healthy food).

Over the coming year, F4F will add 187 family gardens — 17 in Nicaragua, 80 in Guatemala, and 90 in Columbia — and will expand into eight more schools in Nicaragua.