OMETEPE REGENERATIVE FOOD SECURITY PROGRAMME
Our mission is to educate families in order to increase their capacity to sustain themselves on foods that are locally available on Ometepe Island.
Ometepe is rich in resources, however the recent political political crisis in Nicaragua has highlighted that fact that many local Nicaraguans have become highly dependent upon on imported foods. In June of this year Ometepe we saw soaring foods prices on the island, and this, in combination with the severe job losses as a result of the devastating drop in tourism, led to many local Nicaraguans being unable to feed their families.
In a sense this project was started to meet an urgent and acute need - feeding hungry children, but this project seeks to address the larger systemic problem of food insecurity among the local population of Ometepe.
Over the last years during the InanItah Fire Season, we have developed many tasty recipes that use abundant and underutilized local foods. We have in effect proven that is is possible to maintain a healthy diet without relying on imported foods. Thus the inspiration behind this project is to share this knowledge, empowering people to become more self-reliant and healthier. We believe this will lead to increased resilience among the local community.
Important core values of the project are environmental and ecological sustainability. We believe that changing local eating habits to decrease reliance on imported produce will not only improve lives, but will also have a positive impact on the environment. Further to this, increasing consumption of produce grown on the island will mean that less will be exported off the island. This will in turn simultaneously support local farmers by increasing the local demand for their goods, and serve to reduce their impact on the environment.
This project also seeks to instil a sense of pride in the rich resources available on Ometepe and promote sustainable tourism. Anticipating a resurgence in the tourism industry in the future, we see an opportunity for Ometepe to deepen its already established reputation in eco-tourism. By empowering local Nicaraguans to create locally-sourced food that appeal to tourists, this project will enable individuals to create economic opportunities for themselves by selling food to tourists and travellers.
Our program meets an immediate short term need for feeding hungry children during troubled times in Nicaragua, while simultaneously working long term to inspire, empower and co-create solutions for regenerative agriculture, self-sustainability and economic opportunity on Ometepe.
Recent Nicaraguan eco-political outbursts have re-awakened a value for self-empowerment and entrepreneurial spirit among Ometepe residents. In June 2018, we began raising funds and feeding 300 meals to hungry children each week, to meet an immediate short term need for feeding hungry children during troubled times in Nicaragua. Political turmoil had led to a situation where food prices on the island were soaring, and this, in combination with the severe job losses as a result of the devastating drop in tourism, had led to many local Nicaraguans being unable to feed their families.
Importantly we view this project as ever-evolving, and plan to expand it significantly over time. We see huge potential for various forms of education and training to empower the local Nicaraguan community to increase their self-reliance, sustainability, health & nutrition and economic opportunities. Currently, we continue continue to provide whole local foods to families in need in Nicaragua, and offer educational programming for the children of Ometepe at the Ometepe Development Fund Community Center and Garden. The community seed saving garden shares seeds, educates the community and provides economic opportunity for healers and food venders.
Weekly meal services will be beginning on May 1, 2019. And, we are poised to expand our programming to include large scale cooperative food forests, as well as hardwood and timber bamboo forestry.