EPIC addresses the urgency to adapt to climate change by promoting ecological farming in Central America and Mexico. Indigenous leaders bring back traditional agricultural practices and incorporate them with recent methods to produce more food in regions where the population is experiencing hunger.
Salvador Alvarez, Baja Verapaz Program agricultural coordinator, Guatemala: "I used to cut trees on my land before I learned of their importance to the environment. I would clear one area and farm it, then move to another area and cut the trees there. Now I realize the value of trees to protect the soil, and to provide shade, and I integrate trees into my farming. It helps my teaching other farmers when I can show by example. Then people are willing to work to plant tree seeds and care for them in a nursery. And when you've done that, you will give more effort to into caring for the trees too they survive. They become like a child that you care for!"
Marcela, Guatemala: "This land was eroded, and nothing would grow. If we tried to plant seeds, the rains would wash them away, so it seemed futile. Two years ago I started learning about contour barriers, and how to protect the soil. And now you see the vegetables, and strawberries, and so much more that is growing where there use to be nothing! Because we try new ideas in small ways we learn by experimentation"
Armando, FUNDAMARCOS Coordinator, Guatemala: "When we surveyed families in the new area, we were surprised to learn that their corn and bean harvests only lasted a few months before they were forced to buy these staples. They paid for it by leaving the community to work in the coffee or sugar cane harvest. With new techniques they are now able to improve their corn and bean harvests and integrate other crops as well. That is what gives me hope for our country, to help people learn to thrive at home rather than leave!"
Alex, Honduras, May 2018: "Our family used to migrate to other parts of the country to harvest coffee or sugar cane for others. When I learned to make contour barriers, and to use organic fertilizer, and to plant fast-growing trees to provide shade, I realized that I could grow enough coffee on our own land to sell. This field was abandoned. Now, not only do we not have to leave, but this past harvest we hired 20 people from our own community for four months of coffee harvest!"