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2013: A Year Of Growth

We have always felt that Semilla Nueva has a deep promise to fulfill; that so much passion from so many people had to be leading to something big. 2013 was the year we truly began to see that promise become a reality. Four times as many farmers experimented with new farming techniques this year. We ran a census that showed  hundreds of families following our farmer leaders’ examples and changing their practices. We watched eight new communities and hundreds of women form new food security groups to teach new recipes that fight malnutrition. We helped plant 6,000 chaya trees, helped 2,700 families plant high protein corn, and helped nearly 1,000 families plant pigeonpea. A number of our programs were adapted by local divisions of the Ministry of Agriculture, as well as local non-profits. We purchased land to use as an experimental farm, and used our research from it to spur an alliance between our biggest technical advisers and the Guatemalan government agency responsible for agricultural research. The result is a new government program beginning 2014 that will research new sustainable agriculture techniques for small grain producers throughout Guatemala.

All of this was only possible because of the support of our donors and allies. Our first real grants from organizations like Rotary International, Miracles in Action, the Kappa Kappa Gamma Mr. Whitman competition, Empty Bowls, and several other foundations also made this year a success. Other organizations like CIMMYT, ICRISAT, and IPNI provided us with some of the best research and technical assistance available globally. Rotarians and Semilla Nueva Board members came to Guatemala to work in the fields, and then shared their passion upon returning home. Two dedicated supporters went so far as to drive a donated pickup all the way from Idaho. Volunteers, especially our Associate Board, took the lead in the fundraisers and advocacy that kept us moving in the toughest times.

We have a vision that new farming techniques can help the poorest famers increase their incomes, rebuild their soils, and fight malnutrition. We have a mission to develop these new techniques, help farmers become leaders by adapting and sharing them, and build the connections with local institutions to make this whole process sustainable. In 2013 we watched as our years of hard work began to show undeniable results. It’s been a year of change. As we move into 2014, we want to send our deepest thanks to all of the people who supported, encouraged, and guided us.

Semilla Nueva’s promise isn’t just about us anymore. Whether it is farmers propositioning their municipal governments for better agricultural education programs, or the Guatemalan government bridging the gap between international researchers and rural villages, we are becoming a part of something much bigger than the 10 communities where we now work. As this involvement continues, as year by year we begin to more truly realize the promise of Semilla Nueva, we are going to need even more help and guidance from you. You have told your friends about us, you have encouraged us with letters and Facebook posts, you’ve given, or pushed your Rotary club to become involved, you have travelled through hot weather and mosquitos to plant or harvest with us, you’ve met us over coffee to advise us. You all have been friends, colleagues, and family. We wouldn’t be where we are now without you.

From all of us at Semilla Nueva, thank you for making 2013 our best year yet, and for giving us the support to joyously and confidently walk into 2014.

Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year,



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