A Plea for Young Farmers

In this week’s El Diario de Hoy, a short article cited a lack of young experience as one of the major pitfalls in revitalizing agriculture in El Salvador. A renewed interest in farming by youth would help to improve food security, ecological degradation, as well as human capital. The article urges young people to head…

Aquaponicos de El Salvador

Last weekend I finally took a trip to Granja San Patricio, owned by progressive-minded brothers Rafael and Rodolfo Castillo. They have built the first commercial sized integrated aquaculture-hydroponic system in El Salvador, known as aquaponics. Their system is modeled after the oft-replicated system of Dr. James Rakocy, of the University of St. Croix. Rafael Castillo…

Salvadoreño Chickens

Chickens are everywhere in Latin America. Literally, they’re running amok in nearly everyone’s backyards, streets, and trash piles in rural places everywhere. They’re a little more contained in the city, but still the rooster on the other side of our complejo wall crows religiously at dawn…and several times before and after dawn as well! However,…

Starting a Farm to School Program

Farm to School Programs in the U.S. are becoming more and more common; there are currently several proposed bills that provide authorization or funding for farm to school programs. These programs are all about improving school food, supporting sustainable food systems, and educating about the relationships between food, health, culture and the environment. The trend…

Growing Local Food Demand

Local food in El Salvador? It certainly exists, even though farmers markets, CSAs and advocates don’t abound in this country. Driving northwest towards Santa Ana, the highway is lined with roadside farmstands selling the latest harvest: jocotes (known also as hog plums), as well as bananas and plantains, oranges, and maybe bags of loroco and…

Los Planes Organic Farming Co-op

This Sunday I took a trip with Ruby two hours north towards Honduras to the town of Los Planes in the department of Chalatenango. We visited the organic farming cooperative, ACOPA (the cooperative association of organic producers), named after their town: Los Planes. The co-op is made up of twenty different small farmers growing a…

Farmers Markets: Just a bucolic mask?

Most people generally assume that the produce, meat, and other items they buy at farmers markets are grown or made by the people from whom they are purchasing the items. I recently went to a nearby farmers market (one my mother typically avoids because she insists it is far more expensive than other local ones)….

Neighborhood goats and chickens

It’s easy nowadays to find farmers markets; more and more towns have them each year. The Agricultural Marketing Service of the USDA keeps a comprehensive list of all U.S. farmers markets as well as some facts and statistics. As of the 2010 growing season, there were over 6,000 farmers markets in the U.S., a gain…