Story reprinted from ELCA World Hunger
Most people in El Jardin, Costa Rica, work in the banana and pineapple plantations that surround the village. The work is hard, the wages are low, and over the generations, villagers have lost their knowledge about growing other crops.
Recognizing the need for more food, income and sources of employment, the Lutheran church in El Jardin, supported by your gifts to ELCA World Hunger, uses its land for an ecological agriculture program.Flor and her neighbors learn about soil fertility, crop rotation and plants. They’re growing vegetables to eat and also plants that can be turned into products like shampoo and insect repellent.
Flor says she didn’t know anything about rose hips when they started; now she grows them and uses them to make drinks and jam. “It’s nice not to have to buy so many things now, and to be able to make them instead,” Flor smiles. She has also become treasurer of the group. Eventually, they hope to sell their products in shops beyond their own village.
Flor’s new skills and knowledge have made her very hopeful about the future. But Nehemias, the program’s manager, says the changes are much bigger than that. With so many in the village involved — including the children — there is a new sense of community, pride and mutual support that will bring benefits for years to come.
Want to help? Visit elca.org/hunger for ways you can support ELCA World Hunger programs
Photo by Nancy Michaelis/ELCA