headshot Rachel Wyatt Lindsay 2013Welcome to my blog.  When I started I never imagined it would last for so many years!

My name is Rachel Wyatt Lindsay – I live in León, Nicaragua where I am involved in Fair Trade, sustainable agriculture, biointensive gardening, and community development projects.  I came to Nicaragua in 2009 with a Fulbright grant to study innovative ways to join financing and technical assistance to farmers in order to promote more successful sustainable agriculture.  At the end of my Fulbright I founded the position of Sustainable Development Coordinator for SosteNica, a Community Development and Micro Finance organization based in West Chester, PA, where I now serve on the Board of Directors.  My initial work in Nicaragua grew out of my experience working on organic farms in Western Massachusetss, and the desire to take aspects of the thriving organic farming community there to a developing country where technical and financial support for small farmers is scarcer.  I’ve had the honor of working at some amazing farms in MA – the rocking Next Barn Over Farm,  the former Food Bank Farm in Hadley, MA, and Mountainview Farm in Easthampton, MA.   I have a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Wesleyan University, where I was part of a group of students who founded Long Lane Farm, a one-acre organic educational farming project that continues to be a successful student-run farm today.  I learned to love growing food while helping in my grandfather’s garden as a child, and became interested in working with food justice and environmental sustainability while at college.

I currently work as a consultant on community agriculture, fair trade and food security projects through the Social Business Network, and as an interpreter and translator (Spanish to English).  Please feel free to contact me though this blog if you have a project you would like some assistance with!

When I am not working on the farm, I am either dancing, looking for a place to go dancing, or planning the next time and place that I can go dancing.  Contra, swing, lindy, just boogying, irish step dancing (not so much any more), and more recently salsa, merengue, and bachata – I love it all.  I also fill my time with cooking and enjoying the fruits of hard work at an organic farm, trying to garden in Nicaragua despite the persistance of hungry leaf cutter ants and iguanas, improving my Nica slang and repertoire of traditional Nicaraguan songs, making art, and trying to keep in touch with all the crazy wonderful people I know.

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84 Responses to “About Me”

  1. Eric Kerr Says:

    Hi Rachel,

    Have you had any further contact with the women’s cashew farming business. My family and I moved to Muy Muy, Nicaragua two months ago to help her mom and dad service poorer communities. We are trying to identify a profitable crop for the locals in addition to the staple food crops that we will be growing for food and sustainability.

    Thanks,

    Eric Kerr

    T

  2. David MacKay Says:

    Hello Rachel,
    My wife and I purchased about 10 Mz on Ometepe island in 2011, which are currently planted in platanos. We were living in Canada until this year so we exchanged the services of our quitador for the harvest of the crops.
    We are now living on the island and want to be more involved in managing the land, etc.
    We want to maintain the relationship with the quitador but are looking for some kind of salary/profit share arrangement that would work for all of us.
    He would need to be paid a small wage but I can’t find any kind of guideline for this kind of arrangement on line.
    This is unlikely to be a situation you have dealt with but am hoping you may be able to point us to someone who can.
    Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Keep up the good work with your contribution to the country and it’s great people…we love our new home.
    Cheers, David

    1. rwlindsay Says:

      Hi David, this is a difficult subject that there are many opinions for. I’m sending you some resources in an email. Good luck, I hope you enjoy your farm!

  3. Jesús Says:

    Hi Rachel, I stumbled upon your blog and read some very interesting posts. I currently work for a non-profit impact investor in Managua and am looking for organizations that are in need of financing. I would be very interesting in chatting with you if you were open to it.

  4. Molly Says:

    Hi Rachel,

    I’m working with a sustainable development non-profit that works in Nicaragua, Trees, Water & People, and we’re trying to get some information on agriculture cooperatives in the country, like how many and how many members. If you know where I could find that type of info, would you please direct me to it?

    Thank you very much for your help!

    Molly

  5. Shane Carroll Says:

    I will be there dec 31 st till jan 9 th. I am staying in Managua one night then San Juan, how close are to that area.

  6. Mike Says:

    Hi Rachel,

    Thanks so much for this blog! It’s given me much insight, further questions, and a lot of appreciation for the people you’re working with.

    I have an interest in coming to Nicaragua this winter after hearing of a couple of my friend’s experiences there. I’ve been trying to do some online research of places to be connected with during the time I’m there, and was wondering if you could give me some advice – even if just a general tip or two. I realize that a blog comment such as this is an awkward place to post such a request, but since I can’t find another means to reach you I figured I’d give it a shot. If you’d like to respond via email, I’d be happy for that. That being said, here is way too in depth of a background to give you a general idea of what I’m looking for:

    “… The position I’m currently working in is seasonal, and so affords me 5 months of open time during the coming winter (roughly November 15, 2013 until April 1, 2014). I’m looking to work in Central America during that time, for the following reasons: First, and most simply, to improve my Spanish. The second reason is that I would like to learn more about integral, sustainable, and community empowering structures that are working to channel the momentum of globalization in a positive direction – especially if that positive direction is primarily benefitting those who have been otherwise oppressed by non-differentiating global structures. In less heady terms, to me that seems like coffee farmers growing beans in a way that’s healthy for them, their land, and their community, while having a say in what happens to the profit. A final reason I’d like to go is to learn more about the actual act of growing coffee. I have worked on an organic farm in California for a year, as well as having apprenticed on one of the largest urban farms in the US this past winter. I love doing the work of agriculture, connecting with the people who do it, and learning from new and innovative techniques of growing. Also, I love coffee. I feel a bit indebted to it, and figure if I’ve drank this much and don’t have a plan of drinking less, I aught to give a bit of myself to its cultivation.

    My background and experience, in short, ranges from social service work (largely with homeless communicates here in cities in the US), youth leadership, nonprofit development, working knowledge of organic agriculture, environmental education, and leading recreational activities for youth. In the next few years, I am perhaps looking to focus my skill set around issues of refugee resettlement and immigration here in the US, which is why I’m interested in learning Spanish and also in learning more about positive efforts that are creating peaceful and viable communities in people’s home countries so they are not forced to emigrate due to violence or poverty.

    I anticipate beginning my time by enrolling in a language school, which I understand to be about a 1 month commitment (are there any schools that you can recommend?). My Spanish is rough, but passable enough for me to get by in conversation (I’d rate it a 3 out of 10). I’m hoping it will significantly improve after the school, and will get better every day that I’m surrounded by it. After language school, I’d like to spend the rest of the 3 or so months lending my relevant abilities to whatever non-profit, farm, or community would have me in exchange for the opportunity of experience. In my imaginings, that could take the form of some sort of internship, apprenticeship, labor exchange for room and board, immersion program, or, if the stars had it, employment. I’m humbly conscious of a danger for people from the “first world”, such as myself, to leave their country with the ideals of development and change at the expense of disrupting the communities they enter. That’s why at the moment my aim is not a large project or mission, simply one of spending time and learning. I am comfortable, in fact prefer, living in simple living situations by simple means; especially if that is in the village communities.”

    Sorry for commandeering your blog space, and I hope you are well!

    Thanks,
    Mike

    1. rwlindsay Says:

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for leaving such a detailed comment! I’ve had a few similar requests from people who want to come and volunteer, so you inspired me to write my response to you as a post so it’s available to “los demás”. https://sustainablenicafarming.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/getting-down-and-dirty/

      From how you describe your experience and what you are looking for, I bet you will love the Hijos del Maiz language school. That particular community suffered greatly during the contra war and has come around to become incredible examples of community driven sustainable development. It’s a great place to learn Nicaraguan history, language, and the power of community organizing. I think you would also get a lot out of volunteering with a farmer’s cooperative – there is one in Achuapa near the language school that exports both sesame and coffee, and the two coffee cooperatives I posted today. If you know you are looking to start at a language school, don’t sweat the following months too much. If something just looks perfect by their website, try and arrange it. If not, just come down and follow your nose (and heart). You are bound to find a place that you can both learn from and contribute to.

      1. Mike Says:

        Rachel,

        Thanks very very much for your response! Sincerely. I’m sure a lot of others will benefit from the mentioned post as well. These are all really great ideas, and very much what I was looking for. I’m going to dig into them a bit deeper over the coming weeks, but all the possibilities mentioned have given me enough confidence to buy a plane ticket and trust the experience! Thanks again, and be well.

    2. Melissa Says:

      Hi There! Love your articles! My family and I are looking for a project and wanting to travel and help out. Do you have any suggestions. We have the funds to get down there and live, we just would like to learn the language and help others out while raising our 1 1/2 year old. We currently have a pear orchard in Oregon.
      Melissa
      tuttlelife@yahoo.com

  7. Vera Says:

    Hi Rachel,
    I’ve just arrived in Nicaragua to volunteer with CUSO international in collaboration with CATIE on a food security project in Matagalpa. I will be trying to help women diversify their patios with more fruits and vegetables and I wonder if you might be able to share some of your insights with me?

  8. Dawson Lewis Says:

    Hello,
    I recently spent several days in Rancherias on a church trip. It is a little community about 25km north of Chinandega on the main highway to Honduras. My church has been visiting Rancheria for several years, wanting to build long term friendships. One thing on the trip was visiting the fields of a couple of the local farmers. http://www.flickr.com/photos/newlifenic/sets/72157635135963154/

    I am so glad to have found your blog. My long term goal is to find local resources that help with their specific needs and then use our resources to help the folks from Rancherias go on farmers “junkets”.

  9. Monica Says:

    Hello~! Your blog is a find*. I am developing community recycling programs in San Juan del Sur with this school: http://www.barrioplantaproject.org and am also applying for a Fullbright Grant for 2014-2015. Possibly we can collaborate?

  10. Mark Says:

    Hello Rachel,
    thanks for getting back to Me.. I have a farm in San Nicholas in the mountains that I’ll be starting some projects on this year..The first is to create a sustainable healing retreat, off grid, vegan, practicing different modalities of healing.. The land is up in the mountains on about 69 acres, with plenty of mature fruits trees including mango and noni.. I’m looking for resources and teaching in building, as well as sewage management, etc .. In addition I want to launch a program to donate some healthy desserts to the community school for the kids ( raw vegan ice cream, pies, etc).. Another project is to set aside a few acres of land for single moms in the surrounding communities like Esteli, to grow organic produce to sell at the market to create additional food and income for their families.. I’ll be back down there end of March, or April for a week or two , and then for a month in June.. I also see some composting toilets and other great sustainable ideas. I’d like some more info on where to get this, or build it.. Any help is appreciated..
    thanks,
    Mark

  11. Bryce Says:

    I do believe all of the ideas you’ve offered for your post. They are really convincing and can certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are very quick for beginners. May just you please lengthen them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.


  12. Hello! Greetings from Berkeley, CA!

    First, I just wanted to say thank you for such a beautiful and thorough blog. I’ve been enjoying reading through many of your entries. I know this is kind of unorthodox, but could you answer me two questions? The first: I am looking forward to visiting Nicaragua this summer to do my research on renewable energy technologies for rural electrification; do you know of any (besides blueEnergy and Mujeres Solares) that I might look into?

    The second, I’m working with some other graduate students to create a policy guideline for earth dam for rural agriculturalists, but I cannot seem to be able to find harvest times anywhere! Might you be able to point me in the right direction? I need to figure out when corn, rice, sorghum and beans are planted to harvested.

    Thank you for your time! I look forward to hearing back from you and wish you all the best on your incredible adventures. Take care,

    Alexandra

    1. rwlindsay Says:

      Hi Alexandra,

      Ecodes http://www.ecodes.org/ and Asofenix http://asofenixespanol.wordpress.com/ are two organizations that work here with solar energy that come to mind, there are many many more.

      Planting times vary in different zones of Nicaragua, so any information will be more precise if you concentrate on a specific region. Generally the central mountains are cooler and higher and wetter, and there are more harvests. In the pacific lowlands (where I work) there are two main harvests. A smaller corn, beans crop are planted after the first rains (beginning of may), and harvested during the “mini summer” in mid July, then the second crop is planted in mid August when the rains start again and harvested in November. On small farms sorghum is planted along with beans and corn, the difference is that it’s possible to just cut the sorghum and let it regrow if you want (for a slightly smaller secondary harvest). From my experience, most of the rice production in Nicaragua is done with irrigation (wet rice) in huge tracts of land, fairly industrialized. There are some small farmers farther north who plant “dry rice” which would be planted in mid-august, but I think that proportion is pretty small.

      hope that helps, let me know if you pass through Leon this summer, it would be great to meet you,

      Rachel


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  16. Marco Says:

    Hi Rachel, I am part of a non profit that teaches sustainable farming in Latin America. I am wondering what you are doing down there to deal with pest management? We have had poor luck with organic pest management in Nicaragua and are looking for some tips.

    Thanks, Marco

    1. rwlindsay Says:

      Hi Marco,

      Organic pest management is very specific to the crop and insect or disease. The best organic management minimizes pests and disease through prevention, like crop rotation, high diversity, and building soil fertility. CATIE (http://catieeducacion-web.sharepoint.com/Pages/Noticias.aspx) is a great organization that has published a lot of information about tropical organic argiculture, and the SIMAS library (http://www.simas.org.ni/) in Managua is an excellent place to do research on specific crops and pests and also has a lot of information available on their website.


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  19. mark Says:

    Hello Rachel,
    It’s wonderful you have chosen a path that you believe in.. I have a farm in San Nicholas, just outside of Esteli..I am currently in the states, although I am transitioning there, and plan on creating a natural healing and sustainable community on the property..It’s loaded with mature fruit trees, and various edible and medicinal plants.. I’d like to talk with you and explore some possibilities as well as exchange ideas and experiences..
    peace and abundance,
    Mark


  20. Sounds like what your doing is great. Keep following your passion. And your first blog is wonderful.

  21. Kathleen Bowman Says:

    Rachel-
    My name is Kathleen. I live in Granada and am opening an organic store. I am looking for resources to provide such products. Can you help? I am looking for anything from nuts, produce, dairy products (definitely GOAT as well as cow) baking products, herbs etc.etc.
    I would love to have some good contacts with some sustainable farms!
    thanks-
    Kathleen

    1. yvonne Says:

      Hi Kathleen:
      We have an organic farm on Carretera Sur where we produce a variety of herbs( rosemary, basils, mints, oregano, etc), vegetables(spinach, salad mesclum, asian greens, etc) and citrus. We also have goats and chickens!!! I moved back to the US last year, but Ramon, the farm manager, has recently reactivated production. I send most of the seeds from here and the next lot will not be arriving until October, so we will not have much to offer until November, but please feel free to contact Ramon at your convenience. His cell is 87321890. The farm, La Cruz del Sur, is located on Km 16.5 Car. Sur. Cheers, Yvonne

  22. Randy Jewart Says:

    Rachel —

    My wife and I are sustainable growers in the not-too-urban setting of Austin, TX. We’re interested to learn more about work opportunities in Nica in sustainable ag. I also run a landscape service focused on vegetable gardens. Your blog is beautifully written and compelling. Wondering if you know of folks we could reach to or sites that are good resources for what is going on.

    Best,
    Randy

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  24. Jud Jenkins Says:

    My wife and I have been following your blog for months now. We are extremely interested in coming to Nicaragua to help in any way we can. We think what you are doing is amazing and would like to speak with you about your efforts and what kind of help you might need or be willing to accept. We would also like some guidance. I speak fluent spanish and my wife is working on it. If you could please write us an email or get in contact with us some way we would appreciate it.

    Thanks in advance,
    Jud


    1. Hi Jud,

      I read your comment, and wanted to share some information about a group I work with in Nicaragua. I am part of a non-profit organization called Project Nicaragua, and the Ohio State University chapter works with an agricultural and technical school in Rancho Grande, Nicaragua. We have been sending teams of undergraduate students there for the past three years to teach English, math, and computer skills. The school employs talented students, who each have responsibilities working on the a farm and raising animals. The food produced at the school is then used in a feeding center for malnourished children in the community. Currently, our organization and our community parter have been working to establish a permanent curriculum at the school and to recruit long-term teachers. If you have experience working with agriculture or teaching English and you and your wife are looking for a volunteer experience, I would be happy to connect you to people leading these projects. The school is new and beautiful, and there is a dorm for volunteers with a kitchen.

      Thanks,

      Kathryn

  25. nick Says:

    Hi Rachel,

    What’s a good way to contact you, email address perhaps?

    I really am interested in what you are doing in Nicaragua, and was hoping to speak to you about how I can start similar ventures in other Central and South American countries.

    Hope to hear from you. Feel free to send me an email at nkovaleski1@gmail.com

    Thanks!
    Nick


  26. Hi Rachel,

    I am part of a non-profit organization that works with a technical school in Rancho Grande, Nicaragua. We have been sending teams of undergraduate students there for the past three years to teach English, math, and computer skills. The school employs talented students, who each have responsibilities working on the a farm and raising animals. The food produced at the school is then used in a feeding center for malnourished children in the community. Currently, our organization and our community parter have been working to establish a permanent curriculum in the school and to recruit teachers. The students have so far taught themselves about farming and tending to the animals. I was wondering, are you still in Nicaragua? I would love to get into contact with you to talk about your work so far and any suggestions or resources you could recommend, or even a possible collaboration if you are interested.

    I hope to hear back from you soon!

  27. kataurean Says:

    Hi, I’m a 46 yr old student at Washburn University in Topeka, KS. I am considering spending a month next summer in El Lagartillo to improve my Spanish. I also want to bring my 17 yr old son. I am interested also in possibly doing some kind of documentary while I’m there. I don’t know how easy that would be if the town doesn’t have adequate electrical resources for a camera, laptop, etc. What advice would you give? Is it a safe place to travel to, and what should I bring? I’m just starting my research on the matter. I would love any helpful advice or direction. You can email me at geischan@yahoo.com. I would love to hear from you. Thanks, Kate


  28. Hello Rachel:
    My name is Yvonne and I’m originally from Nicaragua, but have recently relocated to the Bay Area. I own a small organic farm on Carretera Sur, 3 manzanas. We have done some reforestation, have goats, chickens and mainly cultivate beans, corn, baby greens and herbs. There are two houses on the farm, one made of adobe, which is quite nice and livable. The other smaller house is where Ramon and Vicente live, two fabulous people with whom I’ve worked for 12 years now. Ramon is particularly knowledgable of organic practices. We produce everything we need on the farm for the animals and for the veggies: feed, humus, micro-organisms, fertilizers, etc. I would like to find a way of supporting our efforts that started about 12 years ago, but because I am so far away, it’s really difficult to give them the help they need. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Yvonne

  29. Ignacio Götz Says:

    Rachel:
    I have been trying to contact you for quite some time, but somehow the http address was always wrong. Anyway, it’s wonderful to see the aork you are doing, and I encourage you.
    By the way, there is a recipe for green mangoes which I delect in: boil them until the skin fall off; mash the pulp and add a lot of sugar; keep cooking, and when the pulp and sugar begin to detach from the pail, pour in a container and let harden. It’s mango jam, and it’s a favorite in Venezuela,. It’s a wonderful way to use the green mangoes that fall off the trees before ripening.
    Love,

    Ignacio Götz

    1. rwlindsay Says:

      Thanks for the recipe Ignacio. I love trying new foods, especially with local ingredients and even better with mangoes! This sounds deliciously sweet and tangy, and I will definitely try it out.
      Be well,
      Rachel

  30. Ricardo Vasquez Says:

    way to go Rachel.
    I’m a nicaraguan living in Miami, but longing to go back to Nicaragua, love it!!
    I like your report about the piataya, my favority fruit!! When I go back I’m planning to have my own farm. I hope to see you there.

  31. Tina Says:

    Hi, My name is Tina. I have a degree in Horticulture, I have a friend (Mitch)who goes on mission trips to Poplan Nicaragua. They have recently gotton a well & Mitch has asked me what kind of vegetables can be grown there, and when and if the soil needs anything added to it before they attempt to grow anything. Is this something you can help us with, or can you connect us with some one who can?

  32. Alanna Says:

    Saludos Rachel!

    I recently returned from a six-week trip to Nica where I interned with La Base in Leon, or more specifically with one of the coops La Base finances. Karen referred me to your blog, and while I heard about you and your work from Emma and the others, I unfortunately never got the chance to meet you personally. Karen sent me the blog primarily because I arrived with the idea of applying for a Fulbright grant in Nicaragua, and would like to focus on microfinance. I’ll be working on the proposal over the next couple of months, and I would love to talk with you a little bit about my research ideas if you have any time to see what you think as a former Fulbright grantee and Sostenica employee. My e-mail is alanna.markle@gmail.com.

    Thanks, and hopefully we’ll be in touch 🙂

    Alanna

  33. Jorge Greco Rodriguez Says:

    Hi Rachel! Just want to say it looks like you enjoy what you’re doing it, And I wish much success.. It’s Important that mankind return to the earth, my cousins ands I have planted a Garden with fresh tomatoes, green peppers, chili peppers, Italian Parsley, Eggplant and many more vegetables..It’s such a wonderful feeling knowing that you grew it and you ate it:-) Talvez un dia nos vemos en Nicaragua, soy Nicaraguense y vivo en Miami

    Best regards

    Jorge

  34. Inti Ernesto Luna Avilés Says:

    Hola Rachel,

    Es increible tu trabajo en Nicaragua, me parece muy interesante. Tuve una pequeña experiencia con fortalecer cooperativas campesinas en mapeo comunitario y me encanto. Ahora estoy estudiando un master y espero llegar a Nicaragua en Julio y me gustaría conocer de cerca tu experiencia y el trabajo, tengo muchas ganas de aprender y si puedo ayudar en algo en un futuro seria genial.

    saludos cordiales!

    Inti

    1. rwlindsay Says:

      Gracias por dejar un comentario en mi blog, Inti! Con mucho gusto te antenderá en Julio, avisame cuando estás aqui y cuando pienses estar en León, podemos planificar un día para ir al campo juntos. El tema de mapeo comunitario me interesse, hemos tenido experiencias bonitas haciendo ejercicios de mapear fincas con los campesinos.

      soludos,
      Raquel

      1. Inti Says:

        Genial!!

        Te aviso cuando este por alla y nos coordinamos.

        Tené un buen día!

        Inti

  35. Janis Sharkey Says:

    Dear Rachel,
    I ran into your mom last year and again this past Feb at the Dance Flurry. Found out you and my daughter, Amanda (from Mr. Braden’s class) are both involved in sustainable agriculture. She was in Bellingham, WA working for an organization called Sustainable Connections for 2 years and now is in Boston working on her Masters. Meanwhile, I’m coming to Nicaragua with my friend, Amy, who works at Millstone farm in Connecticut who knows Emma–who I just noticed had sent you a post a while back on this blog. Small world.
    We’ll be coming May 14-21 and I was wondering if we could visit you around the 19th?
    I love your blog and am so inspired by what you are doing. Thank you.
    Janis

  36. Ned Littlefield Says:

    Dear Rachel,

    I love your blog and learning about your work in Nicaragua. I have a connection to SOSTENICA, and have recently been in touch with the organization about volunteer opportunities. Ultimately, I will be volunteering for an organic farm in the country, and not SOSTENICA, but am still interested in the organization and your work!

    Do you have any reading recommendations for Nicaragua? Most books I can find on Amazon are either guidebooks or memoirs of the revolution, but I would be particularly interested in getting hold of some English-language material about rural life, sustainable agriculture, and development in the country. I would love some leads!

    ¡Que sigas con el buen trabajo!

    Best,

    Ned Littlefield

    1. rwlindsay Says:

      Hi Ned,

      thanks for writing! It’s true that most of the literature is centered around the Revolution, but you will find that it is still very pertinent to current Nicaraguan scociety, I would still say it’s essential reading for understanding Nicaraguan worldview. Remember the Revolution is still very recent here – almost everyone has had a family member killed or participate, and the residual sentiments still very much affect todays politics. I highly recommend John Brentlinger’s book The Best of What We Are, it’s a wonderful collection of travel stories and philosophy from his time in Nicaragua during the revolution, and Gioconda Belli’s book The Country Under My Skin, which is also about her involvement in the Revolution and reads a bit more like a soap drama than John’s more academic writing. Our friend David Gullette who runs the Newton, MA and San Juan del Sur Sister Cisty Project is about to publish a novel this spring called Dreaming Nicaragua set partially in the time when tourists came through Nicaragua on steamships and paddleboats on their way from NY to California. I’m looking forward very much to reading it, and we’ll have to share some copies while you are here!

      And if you are going to get a guidebook – the only one worthwhile is the Moon Guide! Josh Berman is a friend of a friend and it’s actually filled with stories about rural life and community projects, you’ll probably enjoy reading it more than you think.

      hasta pronto,
      Rachel

  37. Kate Says:

    Hi Rachel! My name is Kate, and I came across your blog while searching around and reading about agriculture work in Nicaragua. I write because I will be arriving in Nicaragua in May 2011 to serve as a Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua. My exact community is TBD, because I’ve learned that PC doesn’t give exact community assignments until some point during training, though I know I will be some place quite rural. Your work sounds fascinating, and I would love to hear more about your experience in Nicaragua, your work, and if you have ever worked with Peace Corps volunteers. My email should be in this post, so if you ever have a few free moments I would love to hear more about your work. And hopefully our paths will cross at some point later this year in Nicaragua! All the best.

  38. Josie Green Says:

    Hi,
    I’m about to go on a scouting trip to Nicaragua and Costa Rica for a small tea business that is looking for sustainably farmed Certified Organic ginger and hibiscus to put in our tea blends. I was wondering if you could give me any names of farms or networks that would help me source these things. We’re arriving in February and leaving just before April and I would like to have a few places on my visiting agenda to shape the route I take. Thanks so much, hope to hear from you.

  39. Adina Ringler Says:

    Hi Rachel,
    My name is Adina Ringler and I am currently working on a Fulbright application to study sustainable agricultural practices in Bulgaria. I have read through your blog and really admire all the work you have done in Nicaragua. I was wondering if you can e-mail me your Fulbright Statement of Purpose so I can read through it and better understand your research objectives. I think it will help me understand what can be accomplished in the field of Sustainable Agriculture. Since you received the grant, I assume you have written a a very strong research scope. Thanks SO much and I look forward to hearing from you!

    Kind regards,
    Adina
    adina.ringler@gmail.com

  40. jschugel Says:

    Hola Rachel!

    We exchanged e-mails over a year ago and I was hoping to meet up with you when I was in Nicaragua last May. I ended up coming back in October and have been here ever since. Sounds like you are still in León? Would love to touch base again.

    Jessica http://www.ToursToNicaragua.com

  41. MANNY Says:

    HELLO RACHEL. SOUNDS LIKE YOU ARE A BUSY GIRL IN NICA. I OWN A 2000 ACRE CATTLE/GROWING RANCH JUST OUTSIDE OF ESTELI ,WE HAVE OWNED THIS RANCH FOR SINCE THE 1800 MY FATHER RAN CATTLE AND GREW CROPS WE HAVE A RIVER IN THE MIDLLE AND A LAGOON AND SOME WELLS,EVEN A SMALL NATURAL SPRING. I WOULD LIKE TO GET SOMETHING ORGANIC STARTED WITH CATTLE AND VEGATABLES. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEAS I AM LAND RICH AND SOMEWHAT A BIT MONEY POUR. IS THER ANY PROGRAMS FORIGN OR DOMESTIC THAT MAY BE INTRESTED IN HELPING ME HELP THE LAND AND THE PEOPLE .

    1. rwlindsay Says:

      Hi Manny,

      I would look at the market opportunities to see what you have the best chance of selling. There is an organic vegetable market every Friday in the plaza in Estili, I would start by going and seeing what they are selling and talking to the farmers.

      Silvopastoril systems are an excellent way of improving the sustainability of a cattle farm. SIMAS has good information about implementing leguminous trees and living fences into your ranch, http://www.simas.org.ni/ They have good information online and even better resources at their office in Managua, reparto el Carmen near the stadium.

      Another option would be bee hives and honey, which is a high value crop that makes good use of forests and can increase yields in any vegetable crop you cultivate.

  42. Marion Says:

    Hola Rachel,
    I am a PhD student currently doing research in Green Microfinance (Microfinance and the environmental bottom line: what relevance?), and I am very interested in the project you have been working in with CEPRODEL. I would be very glad to get in touch with you to learn more about it, and eventually get some contacts? Have you written any paper or report on this project that you could eventually share with me? Many thanks for your kind answer!
    Saludos desde Paris,
    Marion


  43. […] my name is Rachel Lindsay, and I will be coordinating the Agua Pa’ Todos project on the ground here in Nicaragua.  I […]

    1. Mike Says:

      Hi Rachel, nice to see your website and to read about your work. I am interested in the same topics and wanted to make some contacts in Nicaragua.. could you respond to my univ. email enclosed and I will provide more information.
      Much obliged, MRMcD


  44. Hello Rachel,
    I’m a Nicaraguan living in Euless Texas, I was brought up here as a hurricane refugee after hurricane Mitch did its thing as it passed by central america. It’s has been near 12 years and now it is time to go back. I’ve been looking in the net for the right people, projects or just the right information that may help me to grow and build something on a small piece of land that I now own down there near Leon city about 30 min drive from the city 15km north of Cerro negro near a small town called Malpaisillo. Gush! there is excitement and labor involved on what you do and I envy you. I have a house where I could accomodate visitors, students, teachers and more and I’m also willing to build outta this small piece of land a small paradise for everyone, which is my dream…
    All I need is the right guidance that may help me make this idea a reality. “learning about how we can encourage and improve sustainable farming here” ,that caught my eyes.
    Keep on dancing Im sure we do that a lot down there still…
    Hasta la vista Rachel.

    1. rwlindsay Says:

      Good luck Moises, your project sounds like it has alot of potential! I have been to Malpaisillo a few times, it’s very very hot there. The INTA office in Malpaisillo has some very good people working in it and they run free workshops on sustainable farming methods and pest and disease identification, you should go introduce yourself. They are a good resource for any kind of crop and cattle too.

  45. Jim Fitzpatrick Says:

    I just returned from Leon to CT, USA last week. I loved the area and the people. I am very interested in starting an organic cosmetic company in the Leon area using coconut oil, cocoa oil, mango as well as a variety of essential oils from macadamia, sesame etc etc. Also, I would be interested in incorporating volcanic ash. I need to identify sources of these resources. Let me know if you can help.

  46. Emma Says:

    Hi,
    My friend recently met Alan Wright who is working for Sostenica – I believe your supporting Fulbright institution!

    I am a Fulbright Ecuador alum, and worked on an urban-rural food movement (publication: http://www.leisa.info/index.php?url=contact-details.tpl&p%5B_id%5D=214960&p%5BreadOnly%5D=1).

    I am now working in CT on Millstone Farm. My boyfriend is an ex-Peace Corps from Nicaragua, and is about to open a hostal in Matagalpa. We are going back down in Febrary/March to open a cafe – I am trying to source local, preferably agroecological produce, from small-scale farmers – also searching for a better variety of products (not just iceberg lettuce!).

    Do you have any suggestions? I would love to get in touch when I am down there and learn a bit more about your project and see if we can find a market for some of the farmers you are connected to!

    Peace,
    Emma

  47. Kai Says:

    By any chance, do you have any information on short term homestays (ie 2 nights) on a farm for a group of 4 (including two good kids ages 7 & 9). We are searching for a more authentic experience than a hostel but can’t seem to find anything…. I love your site – Great work!!!

  48. Betsy Binnian Says:

    I hope to correspond with you about the many people and resources you’ve encountered in Nicaragua. My husband (a Nica) and I have a farm between Nandaime and Rivas off the Panamerican highway. There is so much to do and so much we need technical help with that at times I feel totally overwhelmed. We both work hard here in WA State to support development of this farm. Reforestation, riparian preservation, pasture management, and digging wells are just a few of the things on our plate.
    Your blog is very inspiring!
    thank you and best of luck,
    Betsy

  49. Kate Says:

    Hi! Your blog randomly appeared today as a link in my Google News Nicaragua Email. Being a former grantee I was curious so I clicked and realized hey, I’ve met you! (Casa de los Mejia Godoy…). Are you still in Leon? How much longer? If you come down to Managua send me a note! I’m actually in CT this week visiting family, will be back the 14th.

    abrazos,
    kate

  50. Annette-from the farm Says:

    finally got your address, a little late but gave me something to do, your blogs are great, pictures are fantastic and you seem to be having a great time. Miss your smiling, happy face at the farm. keep up the dancing!

  51. Amos Budde Says:

    Hey Rachel,

    I found this very interesting blog as I was doing research for my own Fulbright application in Nicaragua! I wanted to know if you could help me with some questions I have about applying to live at UNAN in Leon. I’m really excited about my project and would really appreciate any help or advise you have. My email address is firstname.lastname@gmail.com. Thanks so much, and good luck on your project!

  52. Bruce Manns Says:

    Rachel, the tract of land is near Jinotepe. I’ll be working with a missions group in that area doing a building project. BTW I’ve been blessed with a “few” pounds of Selva Negra coffee. Very good!

  53. Bruce Manns Says:

    Hi Rachel, I will be visiting Nicaraqua this June. Will be working with a local Missionary Organization who are looking into purchasing a 80 acre piece of land. I have a background in the Master Gardening Program in PA, and have owned a small farmette in the past. The interesting thing about this particular piece of land is that is has a artesian well and a stream providing the possibility for irrigation. I am looking forward to what the possibilities are. – Bruce

    1. rwlindsay Says:

      That sounds really interesting Bruce, where is the piece of land you are looking at? I would love to hear about your plans for the land, what you want to grow and where the products will go. Please look me up when you come visit, my cell number is on the right hand side of the homepage, it’s a movistar number.

  54. Marney Morrison Says:

    Happy Birthday, Rachel!

    Thank you for your articulate observations and your pictures.

    Love,

    Marney
    (first cousin once removed – now that is an interesting cultural concept)

  55. Sherry Says:

    Hello Rachel girl!!

    I love your web site and will be checking in on it often. I miss you very much at the Food Bank Farm. I can’t believe you won’t be here this season, it is slow to sink in for me. How lucky everyone is to have you there. You sound so happy Rachel. Good luck with all you do. And so with much love and pride good bye for now!

    Sherry from the Shareroom

  56. monica gallardo Says:

    coment on Miercoles de Ceniza part 2.
    The bigger question related to all the plastic burning is, why does a poor country like Nicaragua import and produce so many goods which come in plastic bottles and plastic packaging? Until not too long ago jute and various types of paper was used for packaging and glass for bottling. Maybe coca cola and their friends need to be sent off and sustainable industries started.

    1. rwlindsay Says:

      That’s a really good question. To frame it in respect to agriculture, why are Nicaraguan farmers selling their beans and peanuts to El Salvador, where they are packaged (and roasted, in the case of peanuts), labeled, and then returned to Nicaragua to be sold in the supermarkets? Unfortunately I think the answer is cultural, and immensely difficult to challenge. The same culture that prefers beans in labeled packages doesn’t care where the packages end up. But I’m not convinced that the bulk of the blame can be thrown at large companies such as Coca Cola. Even unpackaged bulk goods in the market end up in plastic bags, and fruit drinks that are made in large batches from fresh local ingredients are sold in plastic bags with straws stuck in them to drink in the street. It’s the same struggle that we have in the U.S. – trying to get people to bring their own bags to market, and to carry their own cups around to drink from. Except that here no one has even begun the campaign.


  57. Excellent! Thank you!


  58. Hi Rachel,

    Your mom told me about your project and your blog! Fantastic! Can I share this with your fellow Waldorf alumni?

    Hope all is going well!

    Yours,
    Robert

    1. rwlindsay Says:

      Of course you can. I appreciate your enthusiasm, and hope there are others who would be interested in this too.

  59. Carlos Ayala Says:

    Hi Rachel. How are you? I just wanted to say that I hope everything is going great in Nicaragua. I hope you’re learning a lot of spanish and having fun.

  60. Brian and Chris Says:

    Hello from America!!!!! This is your brother and fellow colleague Chris from Dr. Hajdu;s Veterinary clinic back home. Hope all is well, send some tomatoes!!!!

  61. Rob Says:

    Hey Rachel,
    Great that you got a blog started. Keep the info. coming & I’ll keep reading. Stay in touch.

  62. Marina Says:

    Rock on, sister! Obama’s warming it up for you out here in the U.S. May the contagious optimism of the national moment reach you and lift you up as you travel! I’m pulling for you and can’t wait to read about your adventures!

  63. shana Says:

    rachel,
    have safe travels, and have a wonderful time. I am sure that you will make us all so proud!
    Love you and miss your pretty little face already, muah!!

  64. Cyrus Says:

    Rachel,
    Thanks for this. can’t wait to read along, then come visit and see for myself! enjoy the sun for us who forgot what it looks like.

  65. Brad Says:

    Hi Rachel, It is great to “hear” your joyful voice in print. I am glad you are blogging to share your delights and insights. ¡Baile, Mi Amiga!

  66. Alan Says:

    Rachel,
    It has been a tremendous pleasure getting to work with you these two weeks. I look forward to a future of collaboration. Buen viaje en Nicaragua.

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