The ROOT Report: Education Is the Fruit of Life: Building Food Sovereignty in Nicaragua






For more than forty years, Nicaragua’s Association of Rural Workers—Asociación de Trabajadores del Campo (The ATC) — has been working to improve the quality of life for rural communities. Together, they promote food sovereignty, strengthen local economies, and support movements across Central America led by small-scale farmers and food producers working for a better life. Today, ATC supports and unites over 50,000 individuals in 134 labor unions and 254 cooperatives across Central America.

Members of ATC building an A-Frame. Photo credit: ATC

ATC understands that nourishing communities is about so much more than food. Education is at the heart of true food sovereignty, which ATC defines as: the human right to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. To educate youth and community leaders across Central America, ATC operates a training school that focuses on agroecological farming, community organizing, and advocacy. Over the last year, ATC leadership, students, and facilitators created a series of agroecology workshops that focused on soil management and water conservation in Estelí, a city in one of Nicaragua’s driest corridors. Through this demonstration garden, they built a rainwater harvest tank and planted many different fruit trees to ensure diverse and nutritious food all year.

To support their mission, ATC has launched their Agroecology and Food Sovereignty Campaign to raise funds for La Montañita, a rural community with a long history of being a place of refuge in times of conflict. Funds raised will be used to create and maintain demonstration gardens where people can grow a diverse array of crops, learn new farming techniques, and teach the next generation of small-scale farmers.

As this challenging year comes to a close, we invite you to invest in these training farms, which nourish people, provide a critical space for hands-on learning, and support lasting solutions to hunger. Specifically, your support will help ATC Estelí to:

  1. Host farmer-to-farmer learning exchanges to continue agricultural learning and community organizing.
  2. Grow 250 Dragon Fruit plants, an incredibly unique cactus that produces a vibrant and deliciously sweet fruit year-round.
  3. Build a deep litter pig pen, a natural farming system in which pigs are raised on a thick layer of rice husks. After 8 to 12 months of use, the nutrient-rich litter can be removed and used as compost for the farm. Plus, it’s a great environment for pigs – clean, cool, comfortable, and ensures a good quality of life.
  4. Start similar demonstration plots in two other communities in the region.

The ATC has raised nearly $3,063 since the campaign began and are still collecting donations. Join ATC in promoting the sustainable, community-based food system they envision for La Montañita and greater Estelí.

To learn more and donate to the ATC’s campaign, click here. To learn more about La Montañita, check out their community profile.