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Damaged Soil to Food Security


Semilla Nueva is beginning our work with rural farm communities of the Tierra Fria “Cold Land” in the department of Quetzaltenengo, Guatemala. My first visit to Huitan was an inspirational experience. As we wound up mountain roads, and weaved through valley floors I was continually amazed by the vastness of land being cultivated. From horizon to horizon you could see houses intermingled within tracks of land. Occasionally I would identify a terraced hillside, or a steaming compost pile and perk up with encouragement, however more than anything I was overwhelmed knowing that 99% of the farms are applying heavy doses of chemical fertilizer. A practice that has left dirt barren and compact as farmers wait on the rain to soften the soil enough to plant corn, beans, and fava.


There is much work to be done.


I explained that Semilla Nueva was there to bring back this healthy abundance through helping to implement organic and sustainable alternatives that revive soil health and decrease the dependance on chemicals to produce adequate food for the family. These ideas were absorbed with genuine intrigue. The humble interest expressed by the farmers to work with us and collaboratively begin a transition in agricultural practices gave me confidence in our decision to work in Guatemala. Despite the vastness of farm land that needs care, we are working with people who really hope to make this change happen. As we again shook hands, made eye contact, and bid farewell I felt tingles of excitement shoot through my body as I became overwhelmed to be a part of this work that will be educational, influential and effective.

— Brook Golling

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