BENEFITING: SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE IN MEXICO INCORPORATED
SAM (Sustainable Agriculture in Mexico Inc.) is an 501(c)3 organization, incorporated in New York in January 2013, that has been active in the region of La Mixteca Alta, in Oaxaca-Mexico, since August 2012. The organization is comprised of three environmental engineers, two mechanical engineers, and a film producer and assistance from Cornell University’s agriculture department faculty. After a technical assessment of the region in January 2013, SAM partnered with the local NGO CEDICAM (cedicam-ac.org) to begin a series of workshops aiming to share essential but simple agricultural technologies with local farmers. In January 2013, a pilot-workshop was held in the San Miguel Huautla community to train farmers to build water pumps for direct irrigation or for use with drip-irrigation systems. With a great turnout, the workshop trained twenty-five farmers- men and women, in a step-by-step hands-on tutorial on how to build a pedal pump for irrigation. At each step, the attendees helped put together the device, gave suggestions and came up with alternatives that could make the pedal pump even more accessible. All of the materials were obtained locally and the cost to build is roughly $100 per pump. They received an illustrated manual and kept the working prototype within the community for future reference. Most importantly, a large number of attendees expressed interest in building their own pedal pumps soon. Building on this recent achievement in the region, the group is currently working with CEDICAM to plan for topics of future workshops, such as crop management and fertilizing and mulching techniques. And, a larger scale pedal pump workshop series (Phase 2) is scheduled to begin in December of 2015, the driest and coolest season. . In phase two, the group intends to send representatives to the region to conduct fifteen workshops in different communities within La Mixteca Alta, building fifteen pedal pumps as models for the communities. The approximate cost of Phase 2 is $20,000. This budget includes the cost of materials for 15 pedal pumps, travel, room and board for four SAM representatives. To date, the group has been able to raise $3,000 towards this goal from small private contributions and an additional $1,000 from internal contributions. The town and CEDICAM have agreed to provide all of the tools and equipment necessary.