Surry, ME, December 13, 2009 --(PR.com
)-- One of the first things you notice about Piedras Negras is the coffee. It blankets the steep mountainsides of this remote, mist-covered village in Honduras, where road access is difficult and land ownership nearly nonexistent. The second thing you notice about this community is the people, who are proud, resourceful and very gracious.
And enterprising. Since the people of Piedras Negras have little of their own land to farm and depend on the brief coffee harvest to provide income for the whole year, they've looked for local, low-input alternatives. Recently, they've taken to capturing and keeping wild bees on a shared patch of land, both to improve coffee yields and produce honey. Now they're looking for more extensive training so this project can provide them the greatest benefit possible.
Sustainable Harvest International (SHI) - a Maine-based non profit which has been promoting sustainable agriculture in farming communities throughout Central America since 1997 - will offer them this training this spring, when they hold their first Beekeeping Workshop in El Cerron, Honduras. The workshop will provide local Honduran residents with hands-on training in how to establish integrated, organic apiculture systems on their lands. SHI staff and trained apiculturists will work side by side with local farmers and trip participants to learn beehive design, honey and pollen extraction, planting techniques to better attract bees and other pollinators and marketing strategies for extra income. Residents will also learn natural pest management and organic fertilizer techniques - particularly important given the spread of Colony Collapse Disorder, which has destroyed bee hives around the globe. The trip, which is part of SHI’s Smaller World Program, is open to all.
SHI’s ongoing Smaller World Program (http://www.sustainableharvest.org/smaller_world_program.cfm), was first established in 2004 to create direct connections between people who support SHI’s work and the communities SHI serves in Honduras, Belize, Nicaragua and Panama. Participants in the Smaller World program develop a relationship with a community for the duration of SHI's program there. Anyone with an interest in beekeeping, SHI's work in Central America, or having an unforgettable, enriching experience, is welcome to participate.
But the most important part of SHI’s work is to enrich the lives of those they visit. Says Florence Reed, Founder and President of SHI, “I am particularly excited about the positive impact this inaugural workshop will have on the community, in terms of making use of beneficial insects and appropriate technology, increasing yields, and diversifying the local economy.”
About Sustainable Harvest International:
Founded in 1997 by returned Peace Corps volunteer Florence Reed, Sustainable Harvest International provides training and materials to Central American farmers, promoting organic and sustainable agriculture techniques as an alternative to slash and burn agriculture. To date SHI has planted more than 2,600,000 trees, converted more than 12,000 acres to sustainable uses, thereby saving over 45,000 acres from slash-and-burn destruction. And, for the fourth year in a row, SHI has received Charity Navigator’s highest four star rating - a rating achieved by only 7 percent of charities in the country.