Thank you to all who participated in Lenten Rice Bowls for Catholic Relief Services. You may return Rice Bowls to the parish office at any time. Thank you for your participation in the Lenten encounters. Thank you for changing lives through Catholic Relief Services. Here are two more young men we encounter through CRS:
As we celebrate Earth Day and Pope Francis’ call for us to care for God’s creation, we must tend to it—and to each other—with love.
Around the world, a new generation of farmers is emerging, like Juan Aranda and Victor Gómez in El Salvador, just 24 and 17 respectively. Although they are young, they are already facing some of the greatest environmental challenges in history—challenges like changing weather patterns and a leaf rust fungus that recently decimated coffee crops across Central and Latin America. With the help of 8,000 new coffee plants from Catholic Relief Services, the young men have begun rebuilding their family businesses. And to prevent similar setbacks in the future, CRS is teaching farmers how to conserve water, keep soil fertile and grow sturdier crops. To date, CRS’s coffee programs have spanned 20 projects in 15 countries, reaching an estimated 250,000 people. These include farmers like José Luis in Guatemala, who also lost his crop to leaf rust. “ All of the coffee plants went down. It was everywhere. We were practically without food. When this happened, many friends left, they emigrated. They just left their work here,” José says. “ But [now] we have done it. We feel encouraged because we see that [there] is a solution.”
Juan David Luna Aranda, 24, and Victor Manuel Cabrera Gómez, 17, are two youths from a group of young entrepreneurs who live in Canton Las Quebradas, San Simón municipality, Department of Morazán, El Salvador. They have been benefited with 8,000 coffee plants to replace the old coffee planta affected by leaf rust. Catholic Relief Services through local partner ACUGOLFO has worked with small producers with the Blue Harvest project to conserve water in soil and to have better agricultural practices in order to get higher yields. Blue Harvest´s goal is sustainable management of water resources in coffeelands in El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Blue Harvest is led by Catholic Relief Services as part CRS’ Water Smart Agriculture initiative in Central America, supported by Keurig Green Mountain, the Inter-American Development Bank’s MIF SAFE Platform, and the Howard G Buffett.
To read more, visit crs.org/stories/climate-change-guatemala-coffee-leaf-rust.
Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for Catholic Relief Services