Why Small Farmers Matter

Every time I travel to Central America I am reminded how this region is so important to our food supply in North America. We walk down the isles of Whole Foods, Giant or Kroger not even understanding all the work and effort it takes to grow the food we eat. Today I met Maria Lourdes during my trip here in Honduras. She is a single mother. She is farming 2 acres of land. One acre specialty banana and one acre of eggplant. Both are crops for export to the United States. Her farm is in a dry corridor of Western Honduras. So she needs drip irrigation (see the hoses on the ground?). She has very little land of her own, so she rents from the local cooperative. She employs four people mostly year round to help her in her farm and about 15 more people during harvest. Her town has no health facilities. And she works under the sun at 100 degrees just about every day of the year. 

And yet she greets us to her farm with a big wide smile. And explains how she's been increasing her production for the past three years. She borrowed money for further investments and she is excited and proud to see her products meet the high quality standards required by her buyer, who in turn sells to several US grocery chains. 

This woman is literally feeding my children and will probably continue to do so in the years to come. A recent National Geographic study of global agriculture revealed that we actually depend on small farmers for our daily foods, more than we think. Yes big commercial farms are necessary and specially for crops like corn and soybean. But for many other crops, specially vegetables, fruits, seeds and grains, small farmers - often in far away lands - are still our main source of food. And for that I say a big GRACIAS!!  



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