Food scarcity and malnutrition stand as one of the three major causes of migration in Central America, emphasizing the vital role nutritional farming plays in the daily lives of rural families in Nicaragua. According to UNICEF, 19% of children in Nicaragua under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition which is detrimental to their wellbeing and growth.
Working on training rural families to farm their land and produce a variety of organic vegetables and fruits to improve their daily diets, VL partnered with Ministerio de Economía Familiar, Comunitaria, Cooperativa y Asociativa (MEFCCA). MEFCCA helps develop different lines of work to support small rural and urban production by recognizing the different capacities of Nicaraguan families and different forms of participation in the national economy. MEFCCA is a great resource for the rural families that we work with, providing nutritional training and educational opportunities.
In February, MEFCCA provided a cooking workshop for farmers interested in expanding their cooking capacities and knowledge about food. Sharing healthy cooking methods and skills will allow people to begin cooking more healthy and balanced meals as well as leverage new skills for business opportunities such as selling food and candies. Fifteen VL farming participants attended, learning how to make foods that incorporated the produce they cultivate in their farms. This included tomato salsa, spicy green tomato and chile sauce, chicken and vegetable stir-fry, and lastly a candied banana treat. Overall, participants enjoyed the opportunity to learn something new, while also getting the chance to eat some delicious food.
Now, these farmers have a variety of tools to increase their focus on creating nutritious and well-balanced meals for their own families, as well as for their neighbors and friends. Increasing education about food and nutrition is an integral piece in building human capacity and making sure that everyone, and especially children, is getting the nutrients they need in order to be healthy.