The farm follows the permacutlure techniques and aims to be a place of referral for the demonstration of alternative techniques which contrast the industrial techniques of soil spoiling. In harmony with the environment and nature, the permaculture not only offers economic benefits but also promotes a general wellbeing of the local ecosystem as a healing of the negative developments provoqued by many years of mismanagement of the terroir.
The Lum H'a property is part of a landscape that faces acute environmental problems: deforestation, lack of water, impoverishment of plants and soil due to agrochemical contamination and over-exploitation of the soil. Not even a decade ago, the nearest village called Chichihuistan had more than 14 water sources and very rich wetlands, now they have almost entirely disappeared.
The local community also suffers from great poverty. People live in simple wooden or concrete huts with tin roofs. Most of the kitchens have an open fire, so women and children spend much of their time exposed to firewood smoke.
This area was once part of a single ranch, with over 2000 hectares of land, owned by foreign landowners. Most of the inhabitants are children of old ranch employees who came here from different parts of Chiapas. Because of this, a large part of the community has lost its relationship with local traditions over time. For example, many of them do not speak the indigenous language and no longer wear traditional clothes.
Today the families live from day to day with as much as the land can offer: corn, beans, eggs, very rarely chicken meat. Some few also grow salad, raise cows, rabbits or pigs. They drink unfiltered water from the local spring, but generally, they prefer to drink soft drinks like Coca Cola. Most men do not have a regular job, some find occasional work in Bethany or San Cristobal in the construction industry for a couple of months a year.
Women often get married at a very young age, become pregnant at the age of 18 and continue to have children until they go through menopause. This leads to very large families with 8-15 children. It is also normal that 1-3 children do not survive the first year of life.
Another critical point is the presence of pathogenic germs such as typhoid, whooping cough and tuberculosis. Poor hygiene conditions and widespread ignorance don't help to take preventive measures to avoid diseases from spreading.
The farm follows the permaculture technique and wants to be a point of reference for the demonstration of alternative agricultural techniques to industrial soil exploitation techniques. In harmony with the environment and nature, this technique not only offers economic benefits but also promotes the well-being of the local ecosystem by reversing the negative developments caused over decades.
- To become an important economic and employment resource for women and men in the region.
- To provide unique opportunities for personal development, corresponding to individual wishes and needs.
- Giving special support to female empowerment
These are the three main objectives of the project, all the other objectives such as reforestation, are in harmony and in correlated to them.
Some activities are implemented with the particular future objective of giving economic support to the farm and creating jobs:
- Ecological and solidarity farming (local market)
- Organic animal products (local market)
- Lum Ha' preserves (domestic market)
- Production of compost and microorganisms (regional/local market)
- Demonstration visits to the farm
- To become a cooperative that extends well beyond the Lum Ha' nucleus
- Developing an important resource of employment and economic gain for the region
- 50% of all employees/members of the cooperative will be women
NEXT STEPS PLANNED
In the coming months the activity will focus mainly on the development and training of the core team of collaborators, members of the local indigenous community, which are the heart of the farm and the project itself. Their interest in learning and experimenting with permaculture farming techniques will be stimulated.
ACTIVITIES SUPPORTED WITH THE CONTRIBUTION OF 2020:
- Salaries: with the contribution of the Costa Family Foundation all salaries will be covered for the period from September to January 2020
- Key-line design (for rainwater recovery): design, development and implementation of the water collection system, fundamental as the basis for the forest pasture system, where thousands of trees will be planted. We are talking about 60% of the land.
- Livestock: investment in livestock farming. Electric and "normal" hedges will be built, a boar and two young sows of the Duroc breed will be purchased, as well as two female sheep.
- Homepage: a part of the contribution will be invested in the renewal of the farm's website, with the focus on the movement that is emerging from the activities of the demonstration farm and the training centre for local youth and indigenous people.