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First Church Youth Are Going to Panama!

First Church has partnered up with Sustainable Harvest International— an environmental nonprofit with over 25 years of experience partnering with smallholder farmers to adopt regenerative practices that nourish people and the planet.

Why SHI?

More than half of the world’s tropical forests are already gone and we are losing the other half at the rate of one acre every second. As a result, more than half the species of plants and animals in the world are disappearing, along with carbon stores, which stabilize the climate.

It is estimated that 30-40% of deforestation is the result of small-scale farmers. Every day, subsistence farmers are unable to provide their families with the modest food and income they need to survive. Lacking access to formal education and unaware of any other way, farmers continue to rely on slash-and-burn agriculture.

3.1 billion people in the developing world live in poverty, and 70% of those going hungry live in rural areas where land is available for farming.

Sustainable Harvest International was built on the fact that environmental degradation and rural poverty are unavoidably linked. That’s why the solution must also be linked.

Since 1997, SHI has provided local, long-term technical assistance and training to rural farming families in Central America. Their proven model equips and empowers low-income farmers with the resources to implement alternatives to slash-and-burn agriculture, sustain the land for future generations of farmers, halt tropical deforestation, and build strong, self-supporting communities through agribusiness.

You can help us help SHI by:

1. Learning more about their methods and the big impact they are having on the lives of thousands of Central American farmers.

2. Supporting small-holder farmers from your own community

3. Getting involved directly with one-time donations or through one of their donor programs.

SHI's End-of-Year Update:

In 2022, SHI-Panama continued leveraging long-standing partnerships to improve program implementation, hosted several international visitors, and added significant capacity to the team. Representatives from the Erol Foundation, Northeastern University, and Engineers Without Borders joined the SHI-Panama team in community visits and fieldwork. Fruitful exploratory discussions with Panama’s Ministries of Agricultural Development and Environment progressed during SHI leadership visits to the Panama program in February and November. And with the additions of field trainers César Augusto Gutiérrez and José Rubiel Pérez, SHI-Panama has expanded into 2 new communities in 2022 thanks to dedicated funding from the Protection des Forêts Tropicales fund of the Symphasis Charitable Foundation.

SHI-Panama is currently partnering with 200 farming families in 10 communities in the districts of La Pintada and Penonomé. And we can't wait to join them!


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