Promote Sustainable Agriculture in Chiapas, Mexico

by Econ & Social Development of Indigenous Mexicans

Thanks to supporters like you, DESMI has been continuing several training projects at their agroecology centers. Ongoing projects over the year have included:

- A coffee growing training where the community members participating not only have the opportunity to learn hands-on how to grow coffee organically, but they are also selling the coffee and generating some income to help continue to run one of the Agroecology Centers.

- Community members are also continuing to receive training on organic fertilizers and pest repellents using locally available and renewable resources instead of having to rely on expensive chemical fertilizers and repellents. After the trainings, the community members have then gone on disseminate their new skills in their communities, reaching far more people than in the initial trainings.

- Additionally, DESMI reports success with chicken-care training and vaccination campaigns:

• Over 7,000 chickens were treated through chicken vaccination campaigns (to prevent Newcastle disease and smallpox) conducted in two municipalities (Akabalna and Benito Juarez) serving approximately 16 communities. • 5 technical assistance sessions on chicken care were conducted with 105 community members (60 men and 45 women representing 68 families) participating. Training included methods to improve chicken coops (drinking trough, nests for eggs, etc) as well as chicken hygiene and maintenance. • As a result of the chicken vaccination campaign and technical assistance sessions, 16 communities saw a lessening of disease and increased numbers of chickens in their chicken-raising projects, resulting an immediate improvement in nutrition with the addition of egg and returns on their investment in a fairly short timeframe. Additionally, many members have reported how important the chicken coops are as they allow women to multitask in the backyard by planting fruits and vegetables.

Thank you. With your help, indigenous families in Chiapas have been able to improve their capacity to implement sustainable, non-toxic methods for cultivating staple foods and vegetables and/or raising farm animals.

But there is more still to be done. DESMI has supplied us with details of their current activities and we have post new project information here:, project ID 6051.


Community members have been involved in the planning, construction, and maintenance of two nurseries that will ensure the continuation of eco-friendly and sustainable farming methods. The diversity of the crops will keep the soil healthier and reduce the risk of plagues and disease.

Lately, the 2 nurseries and their surrounding communities have benefited from water-related activities: - The nursery in Nuevo Tepeyac now boasts a new irrigation system. It taps into a nearby spring, includes a storage tank, and irrigates all of the nursery’s diverse crops. Seven municipalities will benefit from this nursery’s production.

- The Agua de Leon nursery received a rainwater-capturing tank with the ability to irrigate their fruit trees year-round. Community raining included the importance of water-conservation methods. This knowledge will be passed on with the intention that each family will eventually have their own backyard tank.

By donating to DESMI you are ensuring more communities like Nuevo Tepeyac can benefit from increased water security.

Thank you for your support.

In the communities of Jolja and Roberto Barrios, where DESMI has 2 Agroecology Education Centers, they’re on track with their trainings on sustainable agriculture. From our latest update, DESMI reports on 3 ongoing projects: 1. Coffee Training: - Students participated in a coffee training project where they sowed 2 bags of beans, harvested coffee trees during prune season, and cultivated plantains. - Students sold the coffee and generated income to support both Agroecology Education Centers in both Jolja and Roberto Barrios. 2. Chicken-raising: - Participants constructed a chicken coop for breeding of chickens and producing eggs. - Additionally, 4o students participated in 2 workshops on chicken care (general care, vaccination, preventing disease). Students now know how to prevent and control avian disease common in the area. 3. Agricultural Training: - 45 students participated in a workshop on the value of native corn varieties and learned about the risks of genetically modified corn. - 40 students received training on different organic fertilizers and pest repellents using locally available and renewable resources. - 18 students participated in a workshop on vermiculture (worm composting). Students now know what care is needed for worm farming and understand the advantages of vermicomposting over using expensive chemical fertilizers.

Thanks to your support, many exciting activities have been taking place.

In the community of San Francisco, Teopisca, 8 collective members are growing organic vegetables for training purposes. The update from the field reports that they grew 3,100 red and white onions using vermicomposting (composting with worms) and they had very good results. Through support from DESMI, they learned how to add sheep and cow manure into the compost together with the worms. The benefit of this is to help multiply the worms, producing even more rich compost.

The land they cultivate is owned by the collective and distributed equally between the collective members. The collective will now try to grow maize with organic fertilizers.

They are currently in the process of learning how to save seeds so they don't have to spend money to buy seeds. For example, they are letting the onion flowers grow so they can collect the seeds to plant again. In addition to onions, they also grow beetroots, squash and lettuce.

This project was started as a response to women not being able to afford vegetables in the market. The practical solution was to grow their own produce. Now they have plenty of vegetables and are even able to share with their neighbors.

DESMI staff continues to support them in strengthening their work and with technical assistance. The group meets every Friday to talk about what plants they will grow, how they will prepare the soil, etc. This is but one of many successful organic agriculture projects that continues to be advance with your support!

Our latest report from the field is about two female agroecology “promoters” in the Pinebetal community in Municipality of San Cristóbal de las Casas. Along with their families, these women are practicing sustainable agriculture and sharing their skills with others thanks to your continued support. They share their experiences on a variety of sustainable agricultural methods, such as: • Diversified crops: On the plots they are growing corn, bean, potato, turnip, pea and coriander crops, as well as peach trees. In the backyard they sow coriander, radish, turnip, cabbage and oat seeds. The promoters say that “working with agroecology is part of being healthy. If you have a range of different crops it means your diet is varied; you’re not just eating corn and beans, but other kinds of foods too”. • Soil recovery: “We came from the hot lands, where a lot of corn grows because of the climate there. When we came here, the land was barren and badly degraded. We talked about it and said (we would have) to get working on soil conservation, but it was just an idea. A short time later we started work. Now we only buy corn every two months, but before it only yielded two hundred kilos per hectare, and now it’s a thousand”. The starting point for this thinking is to work on soil conservation, so that the other tasks of incorporating organic materials and fertilizers prove to be more effective. • Use of fertilizers: The families in this community make various types of solid and liquid organic fertilizers. By applying these organic fertilizers and conserving the soil, production has increased from 200 to 1,000 kilos per hectare. • Use and conservation of native seeds: Corn, bean, vegetable and fruit seeds are native to the region. Year after yearm they perform seed selection with the aim of conserving them; these seeds, as well as being used locally, are shared with other promoters from other communities.


About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Econ & Social Development of Indigenous Mexicans

Location: San Cristobal d.l. Casas, Chiapas - Mexico
Website: http:/​/​​desmiac
Project Leader:
Gillian Wilson
IDEX Latin America Program Director
San Francisco, CA United States

Funded Project!

Thanks to 145 donors like you, a total of $12,371 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

Still want to help?

Find another project in Mexico or in Climate Change that needs your help.
Find a Project

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter