David and Nancy Slinde Speaking at their "Sending Service"

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Food Security

Until we traveled to El Salvador, we had never heard the term “Food Security”. It is a common theme there. In the US, we are more familiar with the food pantry, soup kitchen, second harvest and urban agriculture/ gardening. This past spring we read an article in the Sunday paper using the term Food Security for our national problem of wide spread hunger. Earth Week recently published that due to 2012 extreme weather, the globe is at critically low reserves of grain world wide and signs are looming of a food crises for 2013. While we have structures in place to deal with the issue of food distribution to the hungry, most of the developing counties do not. And now with a looming global food crisis, we all face shortages and higher food prices. However the impact of higher food cost on the US families does not compare to impact this has on Salvadoran families. Living in El Salvador, the issue of Food Security was ever present as problems of torrential rains, erosion, flooding, earth quakes and climate change bring never ending crisis to the food supply. Our first project with Oikos Solidaridad focused on Food Security for 42 families. Each family learned the latest agricultural practices in organic fertilizer and organic pest control. The goal of the project was to provide enough to feed the family and have excess to sell in the market. Four of the beneficiaries accompanied us as we walked through dry river beds to reach a number of planted fields. We still see their faces and know they appreciated the donation from our West Bend church to make this project a reality. Last Christmas as we considered our departure from El Salvador, we realized the fight against hunger was just starting for us. We were returning to comfort, safety and healthy living conditions and leaving behind many who have no safety net. We had meetings with Oikos Solidaridad and agreed that a project in the family yard would be another beginning in food security. Our Saviors Lutheran Church West Bend once again financially supported a second Food Security project. Last week we received photos and a project report. It includes 11 women and 13 men who are heads of households; 12 own their land, the other 12 are renters. Oikos purchased fruit trees for the land owners and seeds for beans and corn for the renters and land owners. Oikos leads training in the recent advances in sustainable agricultures practices including erosion control and responses to climate change. For people who can’t read or write and are set in tradition, these sessions turn their world upside down. They are a very proud people and will tell you how hard they worked to make this project successful. Our two agriculture projects, the first one of 42 families and the second of 24 families, impacts 400 people. Families that are fed can work and children can attend school to improve their lives. We find much pleasure in walking the fields with the people who benefit from these two projects and also spending time with our sister parish where the Rotary hygiene sanitation project is saving lives. We return to El Salvador in winter 2013 to resume our walk with the Salvadoran people. Consider joining us. David y Nancy