“Golden” Prize for guama advocate

don_salvador_tocWe are pleased to congratulate José Salvador Toc who recently received Heifer International’s Golden Talent Award for “visionary leadership” in his community. Don Salvador, a farmer from Ixcan in Guatemala, has been an active community collaborator with EcoLogic and local partner, the Northern Border Municipalities Alliance (MFN), since our project work began in the area in 2005.

Don Salvador has always been an active participant in community consultations and workshops, but his championing of the use of Inga or guama (Spanish) trees in agroforestry is what truly set him apart. In 2008, EcoLogic provided Don Salvador with technical training in agroforestry techniques, and gave him guama seeds to start his own plot. Just two years later, Don Salvador was harvesting 40% more corn from the corn stalks grown between the guama trees, and the guamaleaves were suppressing weeds and mulching the soil so no extra fertilizer was needed. Wanting to share this knowledge and help his community, Don Salvador began to encourage farmers near and far to visit his parcel. To this day he provides trainings to any who wish help, and donates guama seeds to the community and his neighbors whenever he can. The award from Heifer, recognizes this pioneering spirit and personal dedication.

In addition to the $200 cash prize, Don Salvador also received waterproof boots, a bag of corn seed, and money for more guama seed. Ten EcoLogic-trained forest guardians who gave early help to Don Salvador and to the agroforestry program, also received corn seed, boots, and a coupon for guama seeds redeemable when available. We’re happy to report guama seed is now in demand!

In 2010, EcoLogic and MFN, began a three year collaboration with Heifer to develop and put in place community-driven initiatives to promote sustainable resource management, forest and watershed protection, and better food security. A central objective of the partnership is to increase knowledge exchange and training opportunities among the 60 communities to accelerate the adoption of successful activities – such as guama agroforestry plots, and training for volunteer forest guardians or park rangers – throughout the target area.

Read more about Salvador Toc and guama on the Heifer 12×12 blog by Betty Londergan.