I’m Lovin’ the Irony

May 24. In El Salvador, this is the day McDonald’s donates a certain percentage of their Big Mac sales to a local charity that helps give surgeries to children with heart problems. The organization is called Sana Mi Corazón, which translates to Cure My Heart (or My Healthy Heart, but I’m pretty sure it’s the…

Freshly Cooked School Lunches (at public schools in El Salvador)

In 2010, the Ministry of Education in El Salvador undertook a project – Provision of Local Food, Education and Health – to start providing freshly cooked school lunches at public schools around the country. The goal of the project is to help women set up small businesses that provide school lunches, which then feed children…

A Look at El Salvador on World Food Day

Around the world, countries celebrated World Food Day this past Tuesday, October 16th. It was a day to look at food security around the world and, this year, to see how agricultural cooperatives can help feed our planet’s growing population. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) promoted cooperatives, particularly women’s cooperatives, as a way…

Coffee Leaf Rust Plagues El Salvador

  Coffee leaf rust (Hemileia vastatrix) is a fungus that is widely feared among coffee growers. Its full life cycle is not completely understood, but direct contact must be made by the fungus, or the fungi spores, with the leaf to infect it. Scientists also know that the presence of free water is required, and…

Livestock in El Salvador

The cattle industry in El Salvador is a small one. It is composed of thousands of small farmers, many of whom raise cattle for their own family’s consumption, or perhaps to sell to their neighbors. The breed of cattle commonly raised are called “criollo” locally, but is actually a variation of Brahman cattle, which is…

Eyes on the Big Box Store Prize

Farming in El Salvador. Not the number one way to get rich quick…in fact, it’s likely well below number one hundred. Nevertheless, there are farmers out there, working tirelessly to feed us. There are many more farmers working tirelessly just to feed their families. And there are a few farmers hoping to “make it big”…

Cattle Rustlers Rounded Up in San Miguel

Theft of cattle near San Miguel had been on the rise since the beginning of the year. By June, the number of cattle thefts was double the number of the previous year. Ranchers were becoming frustrated and disillusioned with the local police, whom they felt were not trying to solve the cases, and thus the…

Cutting Down Livelihoods

El Salvador. A country that’s situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire (prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions), where 50% of the rural population lives below the poverty line and there are huge rates of underemployment; 40% of Salvadorans are subsistence farmers, 21% are officially employed in agriculture (which accounts for 12% of the country’s…

Fresh From the Land

What’s the next best thing to going into your backyard and harvesting veggies from the earth and using them a short while later in your dinner? Driving down the road (with incredible views along the way) and having the eight-year-old daughter of the local farmer do it for you!! (Not that I’m promoting child labor;…

Eating Away at Biodiversity

The illegal trade of birds, reptiles, and some mammals is a lucrative corner of the black market among El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. It has been about three years since consuming turtle eggs became officially against the law in El Salvador, and still it’s not too hard to find place that sell these so-called…

El Salvador’s Family Agriculture Plan

The Family Agriculture Plan (PAF) is a new act that was implemented in 2011 by the Ministry of Agriculture that aims to reduce rural poverty and increase agricultural production in order to revitalize the economy in the countryside. With four main components to the plan, the government hopes to improve the livelihoods of about 2…

Modern Slaughterhouse Construction Halted

Two modern slaughterhouses are in the works in the zona oriental of El Salvador – in San Miguel and Pasaquina. The idea is that these two slaughterhouses would serve the entire eastern zone of the country, thereby abolishing all of the small slaughterhouses scattered throughout the countryside. As I outlined in a previous blog post…