From University to the Farm - Applying Sustainability
An NPH University Student is using what he's learning at university during his work at NPH July 26, 2016 - Guatemala
Augostso at work on the NPH farm
Augosto is currently studying Business Administration in university and he’s also the Farm Director at NPH Guatemala (NPHG). While initially the two types of work may seem quite different, Agosto says they do complement each other. He’s learning how to create better systems, organizing resources and how to maintain or decrease the cost of spending compared to income. “It’s good to be able to use what I’m studying, and apply it here at NPH” says Augosto.
“A big part of what I’m studying is sustainability.” As part of this process, NPH Guatemala has been making steady changes in the farm. A few years ago NPHG grew many vegetables and also had chickens, pigs and cows. In 2016, they will only grow tomatoes and onions; they’re phasing out the pigs (not replacing them) and have only one cow. National Director Christopher Hoyt says it was uneconomical to keep spending money growing vegetables and feeding the livestock and employing staff when it is cheaper to buy meat and vegetables externally. In the future, NPHG is looking at leasing some of their unused land to neighboring farmers, with the idea that they would ‘pay’ with some of what they produce on the land.
One of the biggest sustainable projects at NPHG is The Green Bean Project. In partnership with an co-op/agro-exporter, NPH cultivates, grows and harvests high quality green beans for sale and export outside of Guatemala. These beans are also consumed at the home and the extra money earned goes toward NPHG’s local fundraising target. The Green Bean Project is creating economic sustainability for the home and helping with the local community. There are roughly five to six local people who are employed on a casual basis to help plant the beans and harvest them.
Augosto says he’s excited about many of the projects happening at NPHG, and particularly working towards a more organic way of farming. At the moment, the farm primarily uses conventional cultivation methods but it does use organic fertilizer and organic waste/compost to prepare the soil. A project that’s currently just getting started is creating raised garden beds. This can create an accelerated produce cycle and is also a natural way to reduce disease and help pest control.
Vanessa French Communication Officer
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