My name is Moises Munoz Plascencia, while receiving my B.A. at University of California at Santa Cruz, CAN helped me gain the professional experience I needed to apply for graduate school. I attended weekly meetings and found that CAN is an organization with integrity and mission that I believe in. CAN generates relationships built on knowledge and camaraderie. I believe that there are many issues with the food system that cause suffering for many. I believe that CAN helps reduce that suffering through environmental education, participatory action research, and friendship. I experienced this first hand, when I went on an international Internship to the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. In the summer of 2009, in a small communal jungle town in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, I was sitting in a half destroyed Spanish colonial house speaking with an aged Mayan man. The sun scorching above, sweat rolling off the wrinkles of the man’s copper hued skin, he tells me about his milpa—a traditional farming plot—and how his milpa is suffering from a recent drought. He asked eagerly, “En su pueblo, ¿qué es lo que siembras?” (In your town, what do you sow?). Bewildered by the question, I reply, “Nada. No siembro nada en mi pueblo (Nothing. I don’t sow anything in my town).” At first it was a disconcerting statement, but later the question bothered me, and forced me to critically question the validity of urbanization and other methods of “progress.” Now in the last semester of my graduate program I have used me experience with the organization to help build a network in my home town, Santa Ana, CA. CAN has been an organization that has offered prolific academic and personal experiences, which have reverberated and helped guide the decisions I make today.
Hi my name is Daniel, I currently work for CAN, and first got involved as a student at UC Santa Cruz in 2008. I was attracted to CAN because it combined Sustainable Agriculture (Agroecology), Sustainable Economic Development, and Latin America. As a young Latino born and raised in the United States, I always wanted to be involved in work that promotes sustainable development in Latin America, and at the same time helps to fight poverty, starvation and environmental degradation. CAN had it all for me, and 4 year's later I am still here! It is amazing what a staff of 4 people and about 8 student interns working in collaboration with dozens of other professionals, professors and students around the world can do.
The Community Agroecology Network is an international network working to sustain rural livelihoods and create an alternative globalization that celebrates social, environmental, and economic justice. Their work is rooted in relationships! Being involved with CAN has given me an incredible opportunity to connect with communities abroad and engage in intercultural experiences that foster shared and experiential learning around issues that matter. Perhaps the most meaningful community-based event I have been involved in was working with youth representatives from communities in Mexico to share skills and knowledge around preserving their local food culture. This work involved becoming familiar with school and home gardens, farmers markets, food preservation methods, and marketing techniques to enable the youth generation to become community leaders and help direct a change toward cultural preservation and food sovereignty in their native towns. In CAN's coffee-growing communities, the livelihoods of coffee farmers and their families are directly changed for the better through the direct-trade marketing strategy that CAN fosters. CAN works only with responsible coffee producers to facilitate responsible consumerism of an extremely significant global commodity! This helps to protect not only the lives of producers, but also the health of the land, and the relationships of everyone involved in the full cycle! Help support CAN so they can continue their impactful work!
Through my several years of working with CAN, they have offered me hands-on experiences to improve my skills and knowledge of collaborative environmental conservation and food security. At the same time, their unique action education program works along side farmers in Central America and Mexico so that my learning experience also contributed to improved livelihoods for small-scale family farms. I am particularly excited about their commitment to on-going participatory research so that programs are constantly evolving just as the global and local socio-ecological process do on the ground.
The Community Agroecology Network is an amazing nonprofit organization that actively engages sustainable coffee producing communities, students, and coffee consumers all over the world in a direct trade relationship that eliminates middle men in the commodity chain and helps producers receive more returns for their product. Their International Field Study program was the most impacting experience of my life as I was able to spend 10 weeks in a rural coffee producing community in Mexico participating in an intercultual exchange of ideas and experiences. Their Santa Cruz student-based group, Friends of CAN (FoCAN), works tirelessly to connect students in the Santa Cruz community with farming communities in Mesoameria. They also discuss and do hands on activities related to topics such as sustainability, community building, and interculturality- all key aspects of creating a more socially and environmentally just global food system. Hooray CAN & FoCAN!
I am a veterinarian, farmer and permaculture teacher on Manitoulin Island,Ontaio,Canada. I am in the process of reclaiming land used for the over-grazing of cattle and restoring it to a healthy, balanced ecosystem and productive Food Forest. I am planting 1000 useful trees this year to add to the 1000 planted last year on my 200 acres. I am pleased to know about the Community Agroecology Network (CAN) and the positive work it does in Mesoamerica. Their mission is strongly related to my mission to restore my farm and teach others about permaculture and agroforestry methods , since the CAN partners are planting shade trees for growing their coffee in a more healthy ecosystem. Trees are vital for the long term health of the soil and our planet in general. I like the feeling that we are working together for the earth, in Canada, Mexico or Costa Rica. Congratulations to CAN for doing such good work, and keep on planting! Dr Mary Yett
CAN has been the community partner for a summer service learning course that I have been teaching since 2008 in Central America. I have learnt about the concepts of Agroecology and Participative Action Research from them and commend their efforts to develop alternative direct trade channels for small scale coffee farmers in Meso America.
In the short time I've worked with this Nonprofit, I've learned so much about the great things they do. Unlike the nonprofits that I've researched, CAN is actually one where the positive change can be visibly seen and transparent. The work they are doing actually is making a difference and for this I feel its a very inspiring organization.
CAN has been a strong partner in our programming to fight seasonal hunger, or the "thin months," in the coffeelands. We have collaborated with CAN on projects in Nicaragua and Mexico which involve youth leadership and community-driven solutions to food security. In each project, CAN demonstrates a grassroots, agroecological approach that prioritizes human as well as environmental factors. We also called upon CAN to facilitate a highly-participatory Food Security Forum in Nicaragua last year that brought together dozens of NGO project managers, coffee cooperative farm technicians, and other community and government leaders to discuss innovative strategies for addressing food security in Nicaragua. CAN's deep expertise, extensive network, and approachable style contributed significantly to the success of the conference.
CAN has been a great organization! I´ve had the opportunity to see how links between people from all over the world are grown and changing lives. I´ve had the chance to organize an event where college students travel all the way to a small Yucatecan town and get to know the family life in the rural mayan world, these local families also get prepared to recieve a student from far away with info about them, their background, their studies, and cultural differences. Once they meet Both sides start a process of exploring completely different worlds from the reality of everyday life and go through this experience together. Through strong values of agroecology, sustainability and justice, a platform has been created for food security, cultural exchange and environmental care.
CAN is a great organization doing incredible work. I have had the opportunity to attend some of the events locally where faculty from many of the CAN projects in Mexico and Nicaragua participated along side the public and students to share information, have fun and taste coffee. I am also lucky enough to get to see some of their work in Nicaragua. I was an observer of CAN working both in the UCA San Ramón as well as out on one of the food cooperatives to share information from research done, listen to feedback, and collaborate to get as many ideas as possible for action plans that everyone can participate in to address trends suggested by the research. CAN is empowering people, and arming them with tools, to make changes for the better within communities, for food security, education, and healthy living.
CAN is an amazing nonprofit that connects people from very different parts of the world and walks of life and gives us the opportunity to work together to make a more just, equitable and environmentally sound world. Through CAN I have the opportunity to interact with small scale coffee farmers in Mexico and Nicaragua and their children and to bring them together with university students and coffee drinkers in the US. Together we learn about each others' lives and work on projects. One project is involving farmers in improving sustainable farming practices through trainings and establishment of a sustainability fund in their community. Farmers decide as a group the priorities of what they need. For example this year in San Ramon, Nicaragua the farmers decided to improve their coffee milling so it did not pollute the local river. They also used the fund to support a U.S. grad student to conduct a bird study on their farms to learn what migratory birds are present. As a Board member for CAN I see a network of volunteers from both Latin America and the USA working with a small staff at CAN to connect healthy environments and healthy people through sustainable farming, just trade, and intercultural awareness person to person, community to community.