Sustainable Organic Agriculture in Chiapas, Mexico

Jul 24, 2012

The Power of the Backyard

Chicken Vaccination Workshop
Chicken Vaccination Workshop

Your generous donations support DESMI’s powerful work to improve the health of families and of the environment. Tangible improvements in families and the environment can be seen in one very common place that’s often overlooked in other sustainable development projects: the backyard.  

One of DESMI’s grassroots projects trains women in organic farming processes and helps them to start backyard family gardens. 78 family gardens have been created to date with more and more families experiencing the benefits of these gardens. Families don’t need a lot to get started: but once they’ve received the necessary training and the gardens are up and running, their impact is massive! Adding a backyard garden helps with food security which means, in short, that families have control over their food source and they have access to a diversified healthy diet that can improve the whole family’s nutrition levels and overall health.  

In addition to gardens, DESMI has helped train more than 130 families how to harvest native plants and to further diversify their diets. What used to be thought of as “weeds” are now harvested as food and families are benefiting from an expanded diet that now includes turnips, chicory, tomato and other native plants.

And if that isn’t enough… DEMSI is also helping women raise healthy chickens. Recently, DESMI supported 6 workshops on chicken vaccination. Disease can spread quickly and wipe out whole chicken flocks if not treated very carefully. As a result of these workshops, 16 communities saw a decrease in disease. The chicken coops are seen by families as an important source of nutrition and of income, and they’re especially valued because they allow women to multitask in the backyard by also planting fruits and vegetables. These are some powerful backyards that are empowering women and families!

As Cynthia Ramirez, DESMI’s executive director puts it: “So you have to conduct agriculture, conscious of the future, no longer just thinking about having corn for one year, but whether my children will have corn in 10 years and continuing into the future. It is essential to achieve this security in order to fight for other issues, for an institutional change, a national change, a total change, but if you are not eating you can’t accomplish any of this.”

This summer, consider redirecting some of your own backyard budget to help support change in Chiapas, Mexico, one backyard at a time.


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Project Leader

Gillian Wilson

IDEX Latin America Program Director
San Francisco, CA United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Sustainable Organic Agriculture in Chiapas, Mexico