Heifer Sacramento Goes to Ecuador!

Posted by Heifer Sacramento On Wednesday, October 23, 2013
A group of 12 Northern California Heifer volunteers (7 from Heifer Sacramento) visited with Heifer staff and project partners in Ecuador during summer of 2013.  This was an extraordinary opportunity to have first hand experience of Heifer’s work.  The sounds, feel, taste, and interactions with those whose lives have benefited from Heifer’s work has inspired and invigorated each of the visiting volunteers. Over the next several months this blog will feature more stories about the experiences other volunteers had on the trip. So watch this space!

Heifer has been active with development work in Ecuador since 1954. The trip was designed as an agroecology field study of Heifer’s community development work on behalf of small-scale rural farmers there. Agroecology is the sustainable use and management of natural resource, accomplished by using social, cultural, economic, political, and ecological methods that work together to achieve sustainable agriculture production. Heifer is working within an integrated system of plant and animal production practices to satisfy human food needs, enhance environmental quality and natural resources and make the most of on-farm and renewable resources. 
Heifer northern California volunteers, Heifer country staff,
with banana and cacao farmers of the El Guabo Cooperative near Machala, Ecuador in 2013.

The visiting Heifer volunteers cast nets with artisanal fisherman on the Ecuadorian coast, explored banana and cacao groves in the tropics, and learned about organic farming practices in a variety of highland locations.  In small communities, enterprising local groups of men and women organized in cooperatives are maintaining and, in some cases, reintroducing indigenous food-production methods.  They’ve incorporated a whole host of clean, organic, and sustainable farming practices, including using a modest numbers of livestock.  They’ve integrated the concepts of companion planting of diverse crops, composting, using plants as ‘living fences’ to attract pollinators and beneficial insects, and seed saving to grow and harvest healthier, more attractive produce.  The farmers that grow food using these methods, without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, have found that it gives added value to their produce and products in the marketplace.

Heifer International Ecuador employs a development model that values and preserves the contributions of small rural producers seeking to feed their families and maintain economic self-sufficiency.  Farmers are encouraged to organize themselves and use Heifer’s resources for training, education and marketing.  

Read more about Heifer's work in Ecuador.
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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.