Written by: Mary Beth Jenssen
For those living in Chiapas, Mexico, obtaining food can be a challenging and expensive journey. It is a journey that often leaves many empty-handed and in need of more food, or more nutritious food, than is available or affordable.
GMCR looks to build relationships at every level, including that of the coffee farmer. Recently, GMCR supported the Finca Triunfo Verde cooperative in Chiapas, Mexico, a project aimed at developing sustainable ways to combat hunger. In this cooperative, families face many months of hunger as food becomes less available and more expensive. This strain can lead to a having to make some difficult decisions such as choosing between putting food on the table and seeking medical attention for a sick child.
As a frigid, snowy winter or a hot, dry summer will prove, successfully growing produce is not always easy or reliable. Greenhouses have been used by many to combat the typical challenges of climate, pests and disease. In Mexico, not only do periods of extreme heat and drought create many challengesaround food production, so do the occasional heavy rains that can, in effect, drown a garden and prevent further growth. In search of a lasting way to alleviate hunger, the community joined together to construct greenhouses that could overcome such environmental challenges. These greenhouses would be used to grow organic vegetables that are not only a healthful addition to their diet, but also a potential money saving opportunity as families would no longer have to travel the great distances to acquire basic food staples.
Every member of the family worked together in the greenhouse to help nurture and grow the vegetables. These families enjoyed the fruits of their collective labor and produced many vegetables: lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, cilantro, Swiss chard, onions,chile peppers, cabbage, kohlrabi, string beans and beets. This extra source of nutrition fed these families during a time when it is usually very difficult to not only purchase, but to grow food.
This greenhouse project united the community in its effort to work towards lasting change. The addition of these home-grown vegetables to their diet allows families to spend their limited income in other areas, such as an unexpected doctor’s visit. GMCR is proud to work with Finca Triunfo Verde cooperative to support the health and well-being of every member of the community.