Two Weeks in Guatemala with Vision Maya's Oyster Mushroom Growers

| Kathleen Preis

Vision Maya is a grower co-op of approximately 25 members with 12 active members growing Oyster Mushrooms from their homes in Municipality of San Andrés Semetabaj, Guatemala. Each week, the Oyster Mushroom harvest is collected and sold collectively throughout the community of San Andrés. The organization is primarily led by the President of the association, Carmela, and the Vice President, Juan. The group benefits greatly from initial Farmer-to-Farmer volunteers helping to improve their various production operations. The Vision Maya growers have managed to take what they have learned and continue to produce high quality Oyster Mushrooms under variable conditions.

Improved Small-Scale Cattle Rearing for Youth Entrepreneurship

Despite the potential of small-scale cattle rearing as an entrepreneurship and income generating opportunity for youth (particularly women) in Bangladesh, many youth face a lack of technical knowledge, business acumen, and access to extension and credit support, and are therefore reluctant to engage in this type of activity. Recognizing both the opportunities and the constraints, three small local NGOs—Association for Rural Mission (ARM), Peoples Development Foundation (PDF), and Ashraf Foundation (AF)—requested volunteer technical assistance from the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer Program to increase their staff and youth farmers’ knowledge and skills in improved cattle rearing. In response to this great need, F2F volunteer Dr. Daniel Miller trained 10 NGO staff and 56 youth (59% women) on improved dairy cattle rearing for entrepreneurship development in Khulna and Jessore.

Inside Grower Magazine: Farmer-to-Farmer Volunteers Helping the World Grow

| David Kuack

VEGA manages the Farmer-to-Farmer Special Program Support Project (SPSP), a component of the worldwide Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program, which promotes sustainable economic growth, food security and agricultural development worldwide. F2F was initially authorized by Congress in the 1985 Farm Bill. It was designated as the John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer Program in honor of one of the program’s pilots killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and former Congressman Bereuter, who initially sponsored the program. “Typically, every five years, Congress reauthorizes this program through the U.S. Farm Bill,” said Angela. “Reauthorization is coming up again in 2018. Over the course of 30 years, the program has mobilized more than 16,700 volunteers and supported nearly 12,000 organizations in 112 developing countries, assisting more than 1.2 million people with peer-to-peer technical assistance. ”American F2F volunteer experts work with people in developing countries who seek to improve productivity, access new markets, build local capacity, prevent climate change and conserve natural resources.

New F2F SPSP Small Grant: Sustainable Herding in Mongolia

| Rachael Diniega, F2F Intern

In May 2017, Development Solutions International (DSI), a US-based NGO focused on economic development in Mongolia, initiated a new one-year Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program in Mongolia. The project, “Sustainable animal herding in Mongolia: From household herding to small multipurpose business,” is supported through Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA)’s Farmer-to-Farmer Special Program Support Project (SPSP). Eight highly skilled volunteers will travel to Uvurkhangai province in central Mongolia to visit with herders, government officials and agriculture students, providing their expertise on livestock product processing, new technologies and business skills.

Moving Energy from Pastures to Cattle to You-and Back

| ACDI VOCA Farmer-to-Farmer Director Eric Wallace

Everyone should be good at something, right? Everyone should have one skill they practice their whole lives that their bodies are made to do. As it turns out, we all have a skill like that: moving energy. This movement of energy from one place to another is what forms our ecosystems.