Save the Date for Heifer's 70th Anniversary Celebration

Posted by Heifer Sacramento On Saturday, September 13, 2014 0 comments
Save the Date! Save the Date! Save the Date!

Heifer Sacrament volunteers will be holding a community celebration for Heifer's 70th Anniversary on Saturday October 18, 2014 from 1 pm to 4 pm at St. Marks United Methodist Church in Sacramento. Enjoy fun and educational activities and learn about Heifer's past, present, and future work to end hunger and poverty while caring for the earth.

Stay tuned. More information will be coming soon!!

Save the Date! Save the Date! Save the Date!



Bookmark and Share

Post script - Heifer's Work Evolved

Posted by Heifer Sacramento On Thursday, September 11, 2014 0 comments
This is the final to the series contributed by Heifer Sacramento volunteer, Cheryl McKinney on her experience visiting Heifer Ecuador projects in 2013. 

Post script - Heifer's Work Evolved


We Heifer tourists saw and learned a lot during one busy week in Ecuador. We came away having witnessed many ways in which the Heifer really does what it sets out to do.

We had all arrived with the basic Heifer narrative in mind, which goes as follows.
     A community invites Heifer in to help with pressing problems.
     Heifer staffers, native to the project country, act as facilitators, engaging groups — in which women have full representation — to assess the community’s strengths, articulate goals and vision.
     Among the outcomes of this group process, sometimes taking months, will be decisions about specific projects to be undertaken.
     Then families receive training and support in the specifics of the project as well as any needed education in group process — all summed up in “the 12 Cornerstones for Just & Sustainable Development.”
     At the appropriate time, animals, plants, or other gifts arrive, and project participants sign promising to “Pass on the Gift” by donating an offspring animal or other offshoot of their specific project to the next family waiting to participate.
     The community is strengthened, in food security and networks of relationships.

Thank you to Cheryl for sharing your view on the ground in Ecuador!

Bookmark and Share

Letters from Ecuador part 8 - Go To Market with PACAT!

Posted by Heifer Sacramento On Thursday, August 14, 2014 0 comments
Letter 8 - Go To Market with PACAT!


Almost every article written about Heifer Ecuador mentions visiting the Plaza Pachano Saturday farmers’ market in Ambato where 150 PACAT merchants sell fruits, vegetables, meats, drinks and cooked food — all organic. Go early because the regular customers buy them out by 10 am!

PACAT stands for Productores Agroecológicos de Comercio Asociativo de Tungurahua or Commercial Association of Agroecoloical Producers of Tungurahua. To us Heifer tourists, PACAT came to mean the best in skillful strategy, savvy can-do, and sturdy cooperation.

About ten years ago, a small group of growers wanted to sell in this city market, but couldn't make their way through the red tape. Taking matters into their own hands, they began just showing up on Saturdays, after also showing up the day before to wash the concrete and clean up after a Friday animal market. Little by little over the years the PACAT section of the market has grown to take up more than half, and PACAT has achieved official legitimacy, and even winning an recent award from the province.

On our visit, we saw throngs of enthusiastic shoppers willingly paying a higher price for food that they trust to be high quality, and as several shoppers characterized it, “clean.” PACAT members have actively educated the customer base by offering farm tours. Señor Moreta, current president of PACAT, explained that “now if they spot a little worm among the vegetables, they aren’t fooled and they don’t worry, because they know that the food is healthy and organic.” We loved seeing the distinctive turquoise aprons worn by the PACAT folks — a great way to promote brand awareness — one of the marketing strategies carried out by the paid publicity staffers.

Heifer Ecuador got involved because PACAT met its criterion of being “an organization in harmony with Heifer’s mission, with a clearly defined purpose, and with goals that they couldn’t quite meet on their own.” Heifer Ecuador's seed money formed a capital fund from which PACAT issue micro-loans to members — 250 loans in the past 2+ years. Heifer also provided technical assistance in forming a small corps of techs who act as specialists, helping growers achieve and then maintain organic certification from the province.


Señor Moreta summed it up: “Thank you for visiting. You’ve seen something of our farms, and now the market; Heifer Ecuador has been of great help in establishing us in the market; sincere thanks… We send greetings to Heifer USA, and please don’t let this be the last visit!”
Bookmark and Share

Letters from Ecuador part 7 - Agroecology at Restaurante María Soledad

Posted by Heifer Sacramento On Thursday, July 31, 2014 0 comments
Letter 7 - Agroecology at Restaurante María Soledad

More from www.agroecology.org — Agroecology links ecology, culture, economics, and society to sustain agricultural production, healthy environments, and viable food and farming communities. Let’s go check out how it works in Quillán, a village east of Ambato, still in the Andes, but at a lower elevation than other Andean farms we visited.

Nowhere on our tour were the social dimensions of agroecology more evident than here. In Quillán we start getting a better sense of the degree to which Ecuadorians work together. We remembered María Fernanda remarking at the beginning of our tour, “There is no reason to create another organization in Ecuador!”

Walk with us along a cool tree-canopied path, into a charming restaurant and out its back door, to tables set in the shade near a swift, crystal clear stream. Get ready for a delicious organic lunch of trout, rice, mixed salad, and fresh fruit juice — except for the rice everything was produced right here at this place.


Then meet Verónica Chiluiso and her mom María Soledad, who run this restaurant, and hear a story of teamwork. Verónica explained that 30+ families of Quillán organized into an association, which in turn is one of the 29 associations that make up the umbrella organization PACAT. More about that later…



Here in Quillán, a dozen families, each with their own business, some specialize in trout farming, another dozen farm organically with mixed-plantings, and a third dozen operating restaurants and developing trails in tourist areas. Little by little they have made Quillán a tourist destination and environmental education site along the Ruta Nacional de Turismo, on the Curipisco Bird Observation Trail. It’s a village that young people return to after college where jobs are available. The community has a committee to look after the elderly who lack extended family to care for them.


Collaboration has been key to achieving all these things — and support from various organizations, including PACAT, and Heifer Ecuador through PACAT. As Verónica put it, “They started out as our collaborators and they have become our friends.”


During the long bus ride back to Ambato, we Heifer tourists mull over our place in this long chain of collaboration, friendship, helping hands.


Bookmark and Share

Letter from Ecuador Part 6 - Agroecology at the Torres Farm

Posted by Heifer Sacramento On Friday, July 25, 2014 0 comments

Letter 6 - Agroecology at the Torres Farm

Our Heifer Ecuador tour is still in the mountains visiting our second Andean farm, this one at a lower elevation of 6,600 feet.  Manuel Torres’s operation seems be an operational match for the definition of agroecology ‘…a whole-systems approach to agriculture and food systems development based on traditional knowledge, alternative agriculture, and local food system experiences.’


Señor Torres, who farms with his wife, summed up their life work. “This is the source of our well-being — producing for our own families, and selling what is extra.”



As we walked around the fields we spotted various herbs, squashes, lettuces, cabbages and other crucifers, as well as alfalfa for the animals. In addition, Señor Torres grows hominy corn and potatoes — 18 varieties of potatoes, in fact.

Señor Torres composts, of course. And he biols, as well. Biol is the product of biodigesting manures and plant materials. He ticked off the animal fertilizer ingredients: “de vaca, conejo, gallina, chancho, y cuy — y todos limpios.”  That’s clean organic manure from cow, rabbit, hen, hog, and guinea pig. The result is a concentrated organic foliar fertilizer to use on his farm.


Señor Torres also saves seeds. He invited us into the storeroom, where we marveled at gunny sacks full of seeds of all sorts, including seed potatoes. Indeed, the Torres’s are designated seed savers for their grower organization, Produagro of Tungurahua.





A seed — a tiny object of enormous potential. That is what we felt at the Torres farm: the potential of Heifer Ecuador’s work to spread the agroecological approach over Ecuador, realizing the basic Heifer mission of working to end hunger while caring for the Earth.

Bookmark and Share

Heifer International Blog

News & Events

Check this space often for the latest news about Heifer in Sacramento.

Next volunteer meeting - Monday August 4, 2014 at 6:00 pm. Interested? Email us for the location.

Save the Date! - October 18, 2014 - Save the Date!

Sacramento celebrates Heifer International's 70th Anniversary on Saturday October 18 !!


Join Heifer Sacramento
Email: heifersacramento@gmail.com

Jill Kilty Newburn
Area Community Engagement Manager, Heifer International
Email jill.kiltynewburn@heifer.org

Teresa Fung
Blog/Web Editor, Heifer Sacramento
Email heifersacramento@gmail.com

Amy Flindt
Blog Contributor, Heifer Sacramento via Sao Paulo, Brazil
Email amyflindt@gmail.com

Suellen Rowlison
Chico/North State, Heifer Contact
Email suellen@garlic.com

Follow by Email

Upcoming Events

Heifer Volunteer Blogs

About Us

Heifer in Sacramento is a grassroots volunteer group in Northern California, with a common goal of fulfilling Heifer International's basic mission - "To end hunger and save the earth by passing on the gift to others." We are an extension of Heifer International and together we are improving our world and the lives of resource-poor families while building the foundation for a peaceful world in practical, down-to-earth ways.