Since 2015, Sembrandopaz has been organizing awareness workshops on agroecological practices and food safety in the community of Libertad, San Onofre municipality. This project has been well received by the leaders. It has increased the spirit of participation and collective work, leading them to reflect on how to cultivate in a healthier and earth friendly way and to take care of care for the different ecosystems where they live.
The objective of agroecology is to generate a socio-economic development alternative, based on recuperating ancestral subsistence agricultural production practices, that contributes to reducing the social problems in the agro, raising the quality of rural life, and seeking alternatives to social and environmental development.
An example of this project is 80-year-old Mr. Isidro Torres Julio, a native of Libertad, husband, father and grandfather, that throughout his life has been dedicated to working the land. He tells me that in 1958 everything was planted without chemicals, there was no need to burn and the land was more productive, fertile and healthier. In short, everything was cultivated without chemical fertilizers, all the harvests were sufficient for the family and community, and each farmer could conserve ancestral seeds for the next season.
Don Isidro says that, “By 1964, [they] began to see changes in the climate, crops and ecosystems where they were cultivating. The reason for this was the introduction of modernization and mechanization, moving away from traditional and healthy forms of planting. It is from there that people began to worry more about the economy, productivity, and the benefit to their families without being aware of the impact that toxic chemical fertilizers were having when dumped on crops, soils, and water.”
“By the year 1975 there were both good and bad advances for the countryside, everything was different in terms of cultivation and the flavor of the products was no longer the same. The land was contaminated and needed fertilizers of all kinds because if there were no chemical fertilizers, there were no harvests. The result was that we could not feed our families and the economy would be very difficult. It was so serious, that the chemicals became a necessity for our crops.”
“For me in 2015 the organization, Sembrandopaz arrived with this project and has been very important for my life since they taught me or guided me to see and believe in the countryside in different and sustainable ways, regarding preservation and ways of healthy cultivation, without affecting the harvest too much.”
“Now I have in the patio of my house a home garden where I have planted papaya, mango, banana, plums, lemon, orange, guava, mamey and guanábana. Something relevant is that, thanks to the facilitators of Sembrandopaz, I was taught to make a natural fertilizer with kitchen waste called compost. This compost contains many nutrients that are non-toxic and do not harm the land nor sources of water where I am planting. I have the satisfaction that I am contributing a grain of sand for the conservation and care of the land when I harvest the fruit of my work and share it with family and friends, with the knowledge that I am eating something without any chemicals that can affect my health.”
“For me the care of the land is necessary because we depend on it and with each act we do we will have results.”
“The time of the nations has already passed, the challenge that is presented to us now, if we are not to perish, is to discard old-fashioned prejudices and to take care of the land”
Teilhard de Chardin: ‘Building the Earth’, p.42
Translated by: Giles Eanes