Life in the Mountains

Q’eqchi’ communities’ identity is connected to and their culture is deeply related to the mountains, especially in terms of their religion, such as with mountain spirits, dating back to pre-colonial history. (Wilson, pp. 13-14)

View from the top of a mountain in the remote indigenous village of Chajmaic, Guatemala, looking down at the Río Cahabón below (photo by Ricardo San José Roca)

Before the armed conflict of 1960-1996 in Guatemala, the Q’eqchi’ people lived in arable land in the mountains where they lived off the land, using agricultural techniques handed down for generations. 

Indigenous rural land rights and governmental decisions resulted in the inhabitants being forced to move from their traditional territories to remote regions of Alta Verapaz (Knowlton) which are inarable due to their rocky soil and mountainous terrain.

As a result, traditionally passed down farming techniques do not work here , and it was only when they learned the new techniques of greenhouse farming, implemented by Sowing Opportunities in March 2022, that allowed their crops to flourish and they are producing food that maintains the health of the people. 

Thus, the people are beginning to adequately feed their families and establish an economy.  Therefore, this project is making a difference in ways that can be replicated throughout the region.

You can find only scant information on the remote villages of Guatemala because hardly anyone has helped these sectors, mainly because of the distance and how very difficult it is to get there, so there are not many willing to take on these challenges

Sowing Opportunities is working collaboratively with Habitat for Humanity Guatemala to establish a gathering space for safety and learning so that Sowing Opportunities can dedicate more time to being in the area and develop our team and skills to support our greenhouse agricultural project.

We are raising $13,000 to buy a parcel of land to build this gathering space and you are an important part of this process.  We need your help in making this a reality!

When I witness the harvest in the villages of Chajmaic and Salaguna in March 2023, I will be bringing funds for much-needed cookware so that the people can cook soup and corn tortillas safely, using the new vegetables and corn that they are growing. 

Lety starting a fire for cooking

You can be part of this game-changer for people in forgotten regions who are learning new techniques for surviving on their land, and remaining in their homes.

Thank you for being a positive life force in this historical moment.  Your donation is creating justice for all.  This is Tikkun Olam, repairing the world.

Your donation in any amount is deeply appreciated.

2022 Local Festivals

Visit our Events page!

Sowing Opportunities has participated in spring and summer 2022 in local festivals to introduce our mission to Malden, Melrose, and Revere residents, and to raise funds through donations in exchange for home grown plants and the sale of Guatemalan handicrafts, in order to raise funds for the greenhouse project.   Details are at this link.

On Saturday, May 21st we were at the May-plewood Fest in Maplewood Square, Malden:

On Saturday, June 4th we sold at the Malden Summer Festival on Pleasant Street:












On Thursday, June 16th we were at the Melrose Farmers’ Market:

Fern of Sowing Opportunities at Melrose Farmers’ Market on June 16, 2022

On Saturday, June 18th we participated in Malden Pride and Fern gave a speech.

On Friday, June 24th we were at the Revere Farmers’ Market.

On Saturday, June 25th, Sowing Opportunities had a table at the Malden Community Garden’s Family Day.  In addition to offering plants in exchange for donations, local artist Ginny Remedi-Brown taught local residents how to make a lantern out of a tin can, such as those for canned beans.

Here are some photos and videos from the Malden Community Garden lantern-making event:

Click on the image above to view a video of Ginny Remedi-Brown teaching a child to hammer nails to create a lantern from a tin can!

See how intently the children are watching Ginny to learn about how to make a lantern!

Earth Day 2022

On Friday, April 22, 2022, Sowing Opportunities held an Earth Day event in front of The Gallery@57 from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m.  The event included discussing our mission and work in the remote indigenous village of Chajmaic, Guatemala, offering plants in exchange for donations, a bake sale, the sale of Guatemalan handicrafts and rock painting.  100% of the proceeds from sales and donations are going towards the greenhouse project in Chajmaic.

The day was very successful with many people stopping by the table to learn about the work or make a purchase or donation.  Children and adults alike really enjoyed painting rocks, led by local artist, Ginny Remedi-Brown.

Neal paints stones at Earth Day, under the guidance of artist Ginny Remedi-Brown, April 22, 2022















Sowing Opportunities had fabulous support from Malden youth.
Here, Breeana and Maya staff the table.
Local artist Elena Martínez takes a break in her day to paint a rock at Sowing Opportunities’ table on Earth Day.





Agricultural solutions address migration due to poverty and lack of economic opportunities

In April 2021 U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris met with Guatemala President Alejandro Giammattei to discuss “the causes of irregular migration and that cause Guatemalans to leave their homes in search of better development opportunities.” (  The reason for their virtual meeting was to discuss “shared commitment to expand opportunities in Guatemala and in the region,” according to President Giammattei. 

Click here to watch a video on the overview of Sowing Opportunities’ agricultural solution to dangerous migration to escape poverty and climate change.

Climate change, including flooding from hurricanes as well as extreme and constant drought, is causing many Guatemalans to flee their homes and seek refuge in the north, making dangerous journeys to the U.S., sometimes undocumented.

In her meeting with Guatemala President Giammattei, Vice-President Kamala Harris referred to “factors that we call fundamental causes of migration, such as poverty and lack of economic opportunities, extreme weather and the lack of measures that adapt to climate change, corruption and lack of good governance.” (

The U.S. government is pledging the following: “To strengthen the Guatemalan agricultural sector, it will provide US $25 million. It will facilitate access to financing that will allow farmers to rebuild their livelihoods at home in Guatemala.” (La Hora)

Sowing Opportunities has an agricultural solution to climate change with the intention of reducing food insecurity, reducing the cycle of poverty, and addressing unemployment through targeted and proven agricultural methods that produce high yield within a short period of time in any climate situation.  Towards this goal, we are sending our expert agricultural engineer to the remote indigenous village of Chajmaic, Guatemala for the months of March through May 2022, for Phase 1 of our Innovative Solutions to Create Sustainability.

We are seeking funds to make this a reality.  Won’t you join us in being part of the solution?  Donate here.  Thank you!

Sowing Opportunities’ Innovative Solutions to create Sustainability

Sowing Opportunities’ Innovative Solutions to create Sustainability, and help reduce Poverty and Malnutrition in Chajmaic, Guatemala

On March 15, 2022, our agricultural engineer, Federico Arriola Cuéllar, traveled to the indigenous, remote village of Chajmaic to work for two months with 30 families who have shown leadership in the community.  Federico has set up training sessions where he conducted a pilot project, teaching one member of each family to do greenhouse farming and he is helping them to establish individual greenhouses in their backyards.  Federico conducted a new needs assessment within the first two weeks, following up on the one that was completed in Chajmaic by Sowing Opportunities project manager Ricardo San José Roca and agricultural engineer Antonio Longo Arcia in August 2020.  Ricardo was present for the startup of the pilot project to make introductions and to ensure that things run smoothly.   Measurements of the project’s success will be conducted at the beginning and at the end of the project.  Details are at this link.

Agricultural engineer Antonio Longo Arcia conducts Needs Assessment with 72 individuals in Chajmaic, August 2020


Ricardo San José Roca at Greenhouse farming project, Hogar del Niño, Nuestra Señora Consoladora, Mixco, Guatemala, December 2018

Federico is an expert agricultural engineer with a known track record in Guatemala. He has a degree in agricultural engineering from São Paulo, Brazil and an MBA from Managua, Nicaragua. He also received training from the Israeli government on water irrigation. He has worked in the field for nearly 40 years and has had tremendous success, currently working on 10 projects in villages (aldeas) in remote areas of Guatemala as well as outside the capital, Guatemala City, including at a church-run boarding school for children from across Guatemala.

Greenhouse project of Agricultural engineer Federico Arriola Cuella at Hogar del Niño, Nuestra Señora Consoladora, Mixco, Guatemala

In villages across Guatemala, based on needs assessments and what is native to the area, Federico has helped the people there to set up greenhouses and to grow high yields of corn, black beans, onions, carrots, lettuce, celery, Swiss chard, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, radishes, cilantro, and more.  The purpose of his work is to develop food security and training to grow diverse agricultural products in order to eradicate ongoing malnutrition in the area.  Sowing Opportunities is fortunate that he has included Chajmaic in his calendar for 2022.

High yield of carrots from greenhouse farming (Federico’s portfolio)


Leafy green vegetables, various types, greenhouse farming (Federico’s portfolio)

If you’re wondering why this might be needed, see our post, “How Climate Change Affects Chajmaic’s Food Insecurity and Sowing Opportunities’ Agricultural Solution.”

From the Mishkan T’filah (משכן תפלה), A Reform Siddur for Shabbat. The Hebrew means “Dwelling Place for Prayer”
The Hebrew means:  Blessed art Thou, our Lord, from whom all life stems.

Due to his dedication to the Guatemalan people and our connection, Federico has arranged to come to Chajmaic for a reduced salary.  He has also arranged with his suppliers to buy the materials to make the greenhouses, as well as soil, fertilizer, and seeds.  Because of the persistent rain in the area, the greenhouses for the 30 families will be constructed of iron, rather than wood, to prevent rapid deterioration.

The cost of the two-month project will be $22,619, which will include training so that the 30 families will learn the skills necessary to grow vegetables, maintain their greenhouses, and be able to feed their families and develop independent livelihoods to sell their produce.



⇒ Our recent email can be found at this link.

Beautiful Guatemalan fair trade handicrafts: #GivingTuesday / #GivingBack is here!

Do you live in Massachusetts, or are you planning a visit?

Are you looking for the perfect gift for a special someone?  Perhaps for yourself?

Do you wish to benefit those in need?

Would you like to participate in fair trade, ensuring that indigenous artists receive just compensation for their work?

Then, come to The Gallery@57, located at 57 Pleasant Street in Malden, Massachusetts!

Hours, now expanded for the giving season:

Saturday 11AM–6PM
Sunday 11AM–4PM
Monday 11AM-3PM
Tuesday 11AM-6PM
Wednesday 11AM–6PM
Thursday 12–6PM
Friday 11AM–6PM

Just in time for the giving season, you can find beautiful Guatemalan trade fair handicrafts!

Take a look at some of what is for sale:

Guatemalan handicrafts at The Gallery@57, made by indigenous Mayan artisans to benefit the village of Chajmaic, Guatemala through Sowing Opportunities, Inc.: ponchos and button-down shirts
chenille scarves and woven table runners
dream catchers and belts
Rainbow dreamcatcher – these come in a variety of colors

There are many beautiful beaded ornaments – many types of animals!


Multiple woven chenille ponchos – various colors
Gorgeous woven chenille scarves in luscious colors – perfect to stay warm in the New England winter
Woven cotton wallets in many colors – perfect for giving or your own use!
Woven cotton shirts in various colors – for all genders











Each belt has different weavings. Come in and see for yourself, and try them on. There are many colors and sizes available.