Mushroom farming is not exactly how most people picture rural farming. But DESMI - one of the oldest and reputable community-based organizations in Chiapas, is helping reinvent the way communities think about sustainability.
They have introduced to the community of San Rafael, Chiapas an income-generating project producing zeta (oyster) mushrooms. With your support, agroecology promoters are now using the “farmer-to-farmer” training method to teach community members how to grow these lucrative food crops. It takes less than a month for the mushroom spores to be prepared and the first harvest will be ready to sell at the local market in the nearest city.When asked about their hopes for the project, staff and trainees readily mention self-sufficiency, better nutrition, increased income, and continuing to care for the environment.After the mushrooms are harvested, the byproducts are converted into organic fertilizer, which turns out a high quality, pesticide-free corn (most collective members have small cornfields and use corn for tortillas and livestock feed). Then the leftover cobs are used for mushroom production. DESMI strives to strengthen indigenous communities in the state of Chiapas . With much of their focus concentrated on sustainable agriculture, teaching communities about opportunities by way of something as fresh and exciting as mushroom cultivation is not only agriculturally rewarding, but profitable. This fresh idea offers new skills and innovative ways of making money in the true context of sustainable agriculture.
There are many exciting avenues to pursue with fungi and a straightforward business opportunity for locals is the cultivation of zeta (oyster) mushrooms and they are applying this method as a means to support their local economies. With your help, communities are becoming entrepreneurial societies working to establish new best practices using cutting edge techniques in harmony with the principles of nature. Now that is sustainability! Thank you for investing in communities to prosper through innovative sustainable agricultural practices and building lasting economies. Even the smallest of donations can make the biggest difference!
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San Cristobal d.l. Casas,
IDEX Latin America Program Director