You have been introduced to Melecio Cantoral before. He is a farmer living in a rural and mountainous part of Honduras with his family, three hours from the nearest paved road. Thanks to a CWS and Foods Resource Bank program implemented by local partner CASM, Melecio learned and put into practice a number of new farming techniques on his land. Because of the success that he had from these new practices, he was able better feed and care for his family and did not have to migrate to look for work elsewhere.
I caught up with Melecio this summer, three years after he received this initial support and training. I wanted to know what of the techniques had made a significant impact and if there was anything that had fallen away.
Overall, it was extremely encouraging. He has continued with vegetable gardening, organic fungicides, organic fertilizers, using a latrina and pila and diversified crop production. Of all of the pieces of the program, he has only discontinued two (both of these pieces have been updated in the CASM program since Melecio’s training). On his own, he also built a chicken corral. The best part was seeing his children, who are notably healthier now.
Melecio shared that while he has neighbors who have faced scarcity, “we have been blessed, we now have more than we need, we don’t go hungry.” He has plenty for his family, and he has enough to share with neighbors and to help take care of extended family members who are in need.
In our work, we aim to build a platform on which families and communities can become independent and empowered, providing a hand up rather than a handout. Seeing the lasting positive impact of the training that Melecio received and his healthy, thriving family is a powerful affirmation of the sustainability of our work.
Alex Morse is Growing Project & Overseas Program Coordinator at Foods Resource Bank.