In the western highlands of Guatemala, Juan Ramirez Cardon and his family live in the small community of Chamaque.

Juan Ramirez Cardon on his farm in Chamaque

Juan Ramirez Cardon on his farm in Chamaque

Together with his sons, he works the small plot of land his family owns. For many years Juan was very reliant on the use of chemicals and fertilizers to ensure that he could grow enough food to provide for his family. The expense was more than he could bear.

A New Type of Agriculture

A number of years ago AMMID—a PWS&D partner in Guatemala—began working in Juan’s community. With the goal of helping farmers who were struggling to provide enough food for their families, AMMID taught people about increasing crop diversity and production and improving nutrition. The work that AMMID was encouraging was something that Juan wanted to be a part of.

Juan soon joined an agro-ecology group and began to benefit from the training being offered. Through the project, he learned how to preserve the soil on his farm. Juan learned about seed selection and how to graft fruit trees. Training on intercropping helped improve yields and reduce the need for costly fertilizers. He also learned how to raise, vaccinate and care for the livestock that he received as part of the program.

Not only did Juan receive essential training in farming techniques and practices, he also learned how to gather and store water. This yielded big results for his farm. He and his family have been able to build a water tank, which helps during dry periods, when rain is not falling.

Growth Beyond the Community
Corn grown on Juan Cardon's farm

Corn grown on Juan Cardon’s farm

But despite all of these accomplishments, the thing that Juan is most proud of is spreading what he learned much further than just his own farm.

Part of being involved in the agro-ecology group meant going out, promoting and sharing that work with others. Through his experience, Juan helped other communities organize groups and taught them what he had learned—bringing the knowledge to more and more people.

Through involvement in the agro-ecology group, Juan has not only changed his family’s future, but also worked to help change the future of many other families. With your support, PWS&D can continue to create brighter futures for farming families in Guatemala.