Get to know Sustainable Harvest International

Posted on | September 10, 2014 | 15 Comments

Passports with Purpose is so excited to work with Sustainable Harvest International (SHI) this year. As we got to learn more about them, we knew you would too. Here is a bit more about this amazing organization, from Sarah Clemens, development director of Sustainable Harvest International.

The 2.1 billion people living in poverty in rural areas worldwide suffer from ongoing malnutrition and inability to meet their basic needs. Though most have access to land and other natural resources and a desire to learn new farming techniques, they lack the intensive technical assistance necessary to recuperate degraded lands and make them productive in the long term. DCF 1.0

Typically, people in Central America and other parts of the tropics farm using the slash-and-burn method, which requires new areas to be cleared each year by burning the natural forest. Crops are planted and harvested for one year, which depletes the land and requires farmers to burn a new area the next year. Eventually, land becomes so depleted that crops can no longer be grown. Farmers are forced to start over again in areas of virgin forest (often in protected areas) or relocate to urban slums in hopes of finding employment that is scarce and often abysmal for those with very limited education. With little margin for error and few learning opportunities, farmers are hesitant to try new farming practices unless the transition is done slowly, in conjunction with a trusted and reliable expert.

In the face of these challenges, Sustainable Harvest International (SHI) has directly or indirectly helped 100,000 rural poor people to become stewards of our environment.  Five elements make our approach successful: SHI provides long-term assistance to ensure that changes take root; SHI selects communities based on socioeconomic and environmental conditions; SHI operates as a lean organization with low administrative overhead; SHI empowers individuals and promotes cooperative sharing of knowledge and resources; and SHI builds resilient communities that require minimal input from external sources.Don_Cheyo_1

Started in 1997, Sustainable Harvest International’s Honduras program is the organization’s largest and oldest program and is noted for its commitment to community participation and empowerment. SHI currently works with 186 farming families in the Santa Barbara and Yoro departments to provide them practical, hands-on training to improve degraded lands and rebuild ecosystems that were once rich in biodiversity. In 2013 alone, the Honduras program planted 178,000 trees and converted nearly 150 acres to sustainable, organic agriculture.

One of SHI’s leading objectives is the development of community leaders who have significant knowledge of sustainable farming and environmental conservation. These leaders are expected to train their neighbors, so that the actions being undertaken with SHI’s support have a multiplier effect. Development of these community leaders is critical in order to reach a tipping point in the community, in which more families choose to adopt sustainable practices rather than continuing with conventional methods. SHI’s “theory of change” holds that once this tipping point is reached, noticeable changes will occur in the lives of rural families, and improvements to the local environment will be made.

Don_Cheyo_2One such community leader is Don Cheyo. As a successful graduate of SHI’s Honduras program, Don Cheyo reflects on how far he has come, Before I grew just corn and coffee and now look at what I done for myself, for my children, for my grandchildren. We eat better and we live with the land. I plant good food and I have learned how to build up the soil and plant trees. I sell what I grow and I have purchased this land for my children. It is for them that we are working for a better future.”

We invite you to take a glimpse into Don Cheyo’s life in the follow short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wX5WXGtnq7Y&list=PLJfxY4J2DV3kALWCG45Qa5IqA2RCkwmGq

 

 

 

 

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15 Responses to “Get to know Sustainable Harvest International”

  1. Passports with Purpose = Travelers Coming Together, Giving Back | #GivingTuesday
    November 10th, 2014 @ 9:30 am

    […] Over the years #PwP has built schools in Cambodia and Mali, a village in India, libraries in Zambia, and wells in Haiti. In 2014 we’re raising money to help Sustainable Harvest International in Honduras. The goal of this organization is to stop slash-and-burn agriculture in Central America while giving family farmers the tools and skills they need to farm sustainably. For each $5000 we raise, we will help one extended family learn to farm sustainably for five years, with lasting benefits for them and their community. You can learn more about what Sustainable Harvest does on the Passports With Purpose website. […]

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    November 18th, 2014 @ 1:26 pm

    […] with Purpose Beneficiary This year, funds will go to stem poverty in Central America through Sustainable Harvest International. SHI currently works with 186 farming families in the Santa Barbara and Yoro departments to […]

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    November 22nd, 2014 @ 9:50 am

    […] the Passports with Purpose prizes, you’ll be helping stem poverty in Central America through Sustainable Harvest International. SHI currently works with 186 farming families in the Santa Barbara and Yoro departments to […]

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    […] Get to know more about SHI on the Passports with Purpose website. […]

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    December 2nd, 2014 @ 12:02 am

    […] Since 1997, Sustainable Harvest International (SHI) has been working in the region to help family farmers not only grow their own food but to understand how to do so in a way that protects the ecosystems they live in and prevent tropical deforestation. You can read more about their work here. […]

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    […] Sustainable Harvest International (SHI) has provided intensive technical training to more than 2,500 families and saved 85,000 acres of tropical forest teaching new farming techniques. […]

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    […] to give back to the places we, as travelers, visit. This year they are raising money to support Sustainable Harvest International’s (SHI’s) efforts in Honduras. For every $5000 raised, we can help a family learn to farm […]

  8. Tis the season of giving to Passports with Purpose 2014 - The Occasional Traveller
    December 3rd, 2014 @ 8:56 pm

    […] This year, Passports with Purpose is supporting Sustainable Harvest International in Honduras – their mission is to help the rural people in Honduras develop sustainable methods of farming that both help the environment (no more slash and burn, which not only produces crazy pollution but spoils the land!) and help the farmers feed their families as well. More about them here. […]

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    […] If you happened to miss Monday’s post announcing our first prize, a 2-night Family Ski and Stay Package at the Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont, be sure head over there to find out all about that.  That post also explains everything there is to know about both the history behind and mission of Passports with Purpose and the work of this year’s campaign recipient Sustainable Harvest International. […]

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    […] You can read more about it on their site. […]

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    December 11th, 2014 @ 3:34 am

    […] our planet’s tropical forests while overcoming poverty. For every $5,000 that they raise,  Sustainable Harvest International will help one extended family in Honduras learn to farm sustainably for five […]

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    December 11th, 2014 @ 10:19 am

    […] goal of Sustainable Harvest International is to stop slash-and-burn agriculture in Central America while giving family farmers the tools and […]

  13. Donate to Passports with Purpose for a Chance to Win
    December 15th, 2014 @ 12:49 am

    […] Not only that, a little bit goes a long, long way. This year, they have chosen to support Sustainable Harvest International to help create sustainable farming practices in Central America. Just $5000 will help a family in […]

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    […] – goes directly to Sustainable Harvest International to help farmers in Honduras. You can learn more about Sustainable Harvest on the Passports with Purpose website where you’ll also find the best reasons to give to this year’s […]

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