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.


Indigenous Mayan artisanal Crafts

We are very excited to tell you about an opportunity to give a beautiful gift to your loved one or yourself while supporting Sowing Opportunities sustainability projects as well as indigenous Mayan artisans.

Now you can purchase beautiful handcrafted Mayan artwork at TheGallery@57. All the pieces are skillfully created by indigenous Mayan artisans. Your purchase of these goods directly benefits both the artisans through Guatemalan Fair Trade as well as Sowing Opportunities. Contact for questions and direct donations.

Click to enlarge image –

Woven Button-Down Shirts – all shirts shown are long sleeve.


Ornaments

 


Ponchos

Woven chenille ponchos – various colors


Dreamcatchers


Table Runners


Wallets


Bracelets


Scarves

Gorgeous woven chenille scarves in luscious colors – perfect to stay warm in the New England winter

 


Belts


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.

Plants for Sale to Benefit the Village of Chajmaic, Guatemala

Would you like to help our neighbors to have groceries or sustainable agriculture?

You can do both through your monetary donations or purchasing a plant for your home or office!

Here are our current offerings

CONTACT US for availability or donations.

Small pine
Christmas cactus

succulent
African violet
begonia

kalanchoe
cyclamen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marie Coulanges with small houseplants, 10/30/2021

Here is a sample of some of the offerings:

Many plants are available!
We have many to choose from – both large and small
Some, like the Ají Dulce, produce vegetables
Others, like the begonia, produce flowers
Or, like ginger, their roots can be cut to add spice to your cooking
And, we are proud of our heirloom peach saplings, which have a story

…and produce beautiful fruit!

Small houseplants

There are 3 white begonias, 1 spearmint, 1 peppermint, and 1 morning glory flowering plant here.
This is a flowering red begonia
This is what the red begonia looks like in full bloom.
This is a succulent plant.
This is ginger. You can uproot it, cut some of the root and replant it!
Here is another white begonia.
This is an heirloom miniature peach tree. In 3 years it will bear fruit.

#GivingTuesday is #GivingBack / The Tree of Life campaign

While our primary focus has been on developing a sustainable agricultural project which includes sending an agricultural engineer who will provide training for building and maintaining a greenhouse – we need to wait until it is safer in terms of Covid transmission before we can do so. So, for now, we are offering a different vision – that of #GivingBack . . . starting now

Greenhouse that our agricultural engineer, Federico Arriola, created in another part of Guatemala

For many people, a gathering with family and a special meal is not an option because they may not have enough to even put food on the table.

Sowing Opportunities’ efforts towards #Giving Tuesday are an effort towards #GivingBack . . . starting now

We think about the lives of the indigenous – in the U.S. and in Central America – and what we can do towards offering a hand to those in need.

Sowing Opportunities has two #GivingBack goals: raising $3,000 to deliver groceries to the people of Chajmaic on November 1, 2021 and another $3,000 to deliver groceries again on November 30, 2021.  We are calling this “The Tree of Life” campaign.

With your help we were able to deliver groceries to the people in the village of Chajmaic, Guatemala 9 times! in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic, economic downturn and flooding devastation after hurricanes.

Groceries delivery in Chajmaic following Hurricane Kappa, November 2020

Summer 2021 Plants & Sustainability Project

Melrose Farmers’ Market video, promoting Sowing Opportunities!

The Melrose Farmers’ Market is done for the season, but…

Sowing Opportunities, is offering beautifully arranged plants for donation. These begonias can be grown on your window sill during the winter, brightening your house, and make a fine gift! All proceeds directly benefit an #indigenous village in #Guatemala. Interested? Send a DM or email fern.sowingops@gmail.com

 


 

Earth Day 2021 at The Gallery@57. See event photos and videos here.

Successful Malden Summer Festival (June 26, 2021). > Read More 
Are you local and need plant seedlings? Join us at one of our Sustainable Farming fundraisers this Summer!

Sowing Opportunities is focused on the village of Chajmaic, Guatemala developing greenhouse agriculture for food security and livelihood.
See how we use the local impact to make a difference. > Read Neighborhood View article

If you don’t have a yard, or if you can’t come to the event, let us know . . . you can still donate and get a plant!

 

Sowing Opportunities is focused on the village of Chajmaic, Guatemala developing greenhouse agriculture for food security and livelihood.

See Sowing Opportunities’ recent Neighborhood View article > Read Full Post