At Asociación Visión Maya, expectations for the Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) trainings could not have been higher. Based in Sololá, Guatemala, Visión Maya is an association of almost 200 oyster mushroom producers - over half of whom are women. The group’s members are dedicated to the production and marketing of fresh oyster mushrooms.
My partner, Jennifer Rangel and I are graduate students at Florida State University. Jennifer is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Media and Communication Studies and I am pursuing a Master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communication. We both have a passion for travel and helping others so we were thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the Farmer-to-Farmer program in Guatemala this summer.The Farmer-to-Farmer Program is implemented by Partners of the Americas and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
When Claire Orner first learned about the opportunity to volunteer with Partners' Farmer-to-Farmer Program in Guatemala, she was immediately interested. Claire, along with her husband Rusty, and two sons, Walker (16) and Ashton (13) are passionate advocates for sustainable agriculture and environmental stewardship. For nearly 20 years, the Orners have been stewards of Quiet Creek Herb Farm & School of Country Living Inc., a 30-acre organic farm in Pennsylvania.
“I believe in the power of sport, and great facilitators, to change lives.”
One of my favorite parts of my job is meeting with our amazing A Ganar Phase 1 facilitators. These are the people who work day and night leading field and classroom sessions with youth in some of the toughest neighborhoods in our hemisphere. These facilitators make sport come to life and use it to literally save lives. They open their hearts to youth. They risk their own lives traveling to and from sessions and working in environments that can explode in violence at any time. Some of the youth we work with are dangerously close to gangs, often only one or two steps away from being full-fledged members. For these reasons and more, I always say that our facilitators are the most important members of our A Ganar staff.