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2011

In 2010, the Young Grower Alliance decided to partner with Project Gettysburg-Leon as a service project to help underserved farmers in Nicaragua. The following January, YGA delegate Maggie Reid traveled with Tara Baugher, Penn State Extension, Joyce Ettenger, Penn State Master Gardener, and Eddie Rankin of Twin Springs Fruit Farm, Orrtanna, PA. They presented local growers with soil test kits that were donated by the YGA.

For more information about the Ag Extension Project in Talolinga, please click here.

Project Gettysburg-Leon supports a group called Solar Ovens for Nicaraguan Women, which holds workshops that teach local women to build and use their own solar ovens. The project helps participants develop basic carpentry skills and prepare food in an efficient and environmentally-friendly manner. They also have more opportunities to seek other income-generating opportunities.

The YGA visitors were struck by the ingenuity and resourcefulness of Nicaraguan women. Many were using the ovens to dry hibiscus teas and other value-added products to be sold at local markets. One woman supported by the UN Millenium Project harvests jicaro, a pulpy fruit-like tree growth. The pulp can be used to make drinks and feed cattle. She is trying to mechanize the processing operation to save time.

Local Nicaraguan growers have also benefited from other agricultural ventures, like a milk cooperative. Thanks to the co-op, area dairy farms are significantly more profitable.

For more information on the solar oven project, please visit the Project Gettysburg-Leon site.

Update: Javier Espinoza Gutierrez agreed to act as Talolinga's local agricultural extension agent.

Service in the Future

We hope more members can go on future trips so the YGA can continue developing a relationship with the Nicaraguan agricultural community. Other service opportunities are available through the support of an agricultural extension specialist and by helping growers with pest identification and growing recommendations. We, in turn, can learn a lot from the experience of Nicaraguan farmers as they continue to experiment with new crops and develop diverse planting systems.