SERES has been selected to receive funds from the Impact Hub Antigua – Volcano Disaster Fund. The gift will be directed to the Agro-Ecology Project to support the survivors of the Volcan Fuego eruptions.
“SERES has been a part of the Impact Hub Antigua community since it opened, and we are thrilled to be supporting their work in the communities impacted by the Volcan Fuego eruption last year.” Emerson North, Investment Analyst, Pomona Impact
SERES 25 acre Finca located just outside Antigua, Guatemala, provides the space for the agro-ecology project. 25 farmer-leaders from the communities of Los Lotes and El Barrio, as well as from El Rodeo, La Reina and Santa Rosa will be selected for this pilot project to support the regeneration of livelihoods and family economies, which were impacted by the Fuego eruption in 2018.
Working alongside SERES’ team and other practitioners, farmers will learn how to transition from low-productivity, vulnerable subsistence farming to resilient agricultural systems. The farmers learn about permaculture and organic farming principles. Two agricultural systems will be run in parallel. The participating farmers will have small plots in which they will implement existing subsistence farming methods. In addition to these plots, farmers will work with the SERES team to establish a sustainable agro-ecology system with diverse and resilient crops. Using this method of parallel farming, participants will be able to discover for themselves the drawbacks of traditional farming practices and the benefits of diverse agro-ecology systems.
The agreements with the farmers include one-year of access to the land [renewable yearly] along with mentoring and support during the growing season and access to markets during harvest.
In March, SERES hosted members of the Antigua Hub for a day on the Finca. The farmers worked alongside the visitors on multiple projects including bagging of soil for the nursery, tilling the earth for planting, and installation of a water collection tank.
Victor Mora joined the team at SERES and he will be the Manager of the Agro-Ecology Project. He joins Juan Pablo, Marc Antonio and Anibal who are also part of the Agro-Ecology Project. He brings expertise working with communities and students on environmental issues and alternative energies which will help transform the Finca into a model for resilient farming practices.
In partnership with Botica Verde, the farmers have began a six-week training course. The topics include crop rotation, intercropping, agroforestry, income diversification, use of agriculture technology and other permaculture practices. With the expertise from Botica Verde, the farmers will begin producing organic produce to meet the demand Botica Verde has with it’s customer base.
Sustainable water solutions will be integrated into the Finca and water collection units are being installed as a part of the larger water distribution plan.