Farming to keep her loved ones safe from hunger during the pandemic in GuatemalaNovember 9, 2020
With food prices rising and the pandemic disrupting supply chains, would everyone be able to find and afford enough food?
Tomasa Ramírez Matías is a Mam Mayan woman who lives in Chicoy Todos Santos Cuchumatanes, Guatemala, with her husband Ambrosio Pablo Carrillo. Together, they’re farming against hunger during the pandemic in Guatemala.
When the COVID-19 pandemic started, Tomasa worried for Ambrosio, herself and their four grown children, including their daughter who is a single mother of three. With food prices rising and the pandemic disrupting supply chains, would everyone be able to find and afford enough food? And without nourishing food, how could they stay healthy in the face of this new virus?
In May, Tomasa received an offer of support from our partner Asociación de Organizaciones de Los Cuchumatanes (ASOCUCH). If she was willing, technical advisors could help her plant a large garden with a variety of vegetables. The seeds had been produced through previous years of Seeds of Survival programming, as a result of prior Government of Canada funding. So they were well adapted to her local conditions and could do well, with appropriate tending.
Farming against hunger during the pandemic in Guatemala
Since that day, Tomasa’s vegetable garden became a game-changer for her family and neighbours.
With their 100 square metre garden, Tomasa and Ambrosio have supplied carrots, radish, spinach, chard, broccoli and other vegetables for their extended family’s daily meals.
Even after Tomasa gives vegetables away to neighbours who need it most, she’s been able to sell some of her surplus to others. This extra income (between $8 and $13 CAN per week) allows her to buy other locally-produced ingredients to round out her family’s meals.
Producing vegetables during the rainy season in Todos Santos Cuchumatanes is challenging. But, since Tomasa and Ambrosio can count on ongoing support from ASOCUCH this year—thanks in part to the Government of Canada’s funding for SeedChange—they plan to continue growing vegetables year-round.
Friends and family are pitching in, thankful for the protection that Tomasa’s garden provides against hunger. They’re also happy to learn new ecological cultivation techniques they can apply in their own gardens.
In the face of a pandemic and its devastation, Tomasa and her loved ones are finding both comfort and security in the powerful act of growing food.