Ometepe Food Security Project
Some of you know me and some of you may not. My name is Gaia. I'm one of the founders of InanItah, a small eco-spirit intentional community project on Isla de Ometepe. I've lived on Ometepe for 9 years. In June this year I started this project to meet an urgent need - feeding 300 meals to hungry children each week.
Earlier this year, Nicaragua's political turmoil led to a situation where we saw soaring foods prices on the island, and this, in combination with the severe job losses as a result of the devastating drop in tourism, led to many local Nicaraguans being unable to feed their families. Thus far we have served over 4000 meals, servicing the most needy children in three communities on the island.
Help us to continue to continue our feeding program and to expand our project!
We are so grateful for the donations we have received up until this point which have allowed us to fill so many hungry bellies! With your help, we are eager to continue feeding the most vulnerable in our community, and expand our program to other children in need of food on the island.
In addition to meeting these basic needs in our community through our feeding program, our project seeks to address the larger systemic problem of food insecurity among the local population of Ometepe. Our larger mission is to educate families in order to increase their capacity to sustain themselves on foods that are locally available on Ometepe.
The island is rich in resources, however the recent political political crisis in Nicaragua highlighted that fact that many local Nicaraguans have been becoming increasingly dependent upon on imported foods since the advent of the tourism industry.
Over the last years during the InanItah Fire Season, we have developed many tasty recipes that use abundant and underutilized local foods. We have in effect proven that is is possible to maintain a healthy diet without relying on imported foods. We are inspired to share this knowledge, empowering people to become more self-reliant and healthier. We believe this will lead to increased resilience among the local community. We believe that our feeding program is important, but that is is also important to empower families to be able to feed themselves without relying on expensive imported foods.
In September 2018 we held the first of Recipe Sharing and Community Education workshop. This was a huge success and was attended by for 16 local women, ages 16 - 65, along with some of their children. During this workshop two recipes using local ingredients were shared. We also covered various points on nutrition and environmentalism and economic regeneration achieved through local spending.
We are planning to hold two of these workshops each month and would love your support!
Important core values of our project are to promote regenerative ecological and economic systems. We believe that influencing local eating habits to decrease reliance on imported produce will not only improve lives, but will also have a positive impact on the environment and the local economy which is rich in agricultural tradition. Further to this, increasing consumption of produce grown on the island will mean that less will be exported off the island. This will in turn simultaneously support local farmers by increasing the local demand for their goods, and serve to reduce their impact on the environment. Increased spending on local foods will also mean that, rather than money leaking out of the local economy, it will be fed back into the community, regenerating the local economy of the island.
This project also seeks to instil a sense of pride in the rich resources available on Ometepe and promote sustainable tourism. Anticipating a resurgence in the tourism industry in the future, we see an opportunity for Ometepe to deepen its already established reputation in eco-tourism. By empowering local Nicaraguans to create locally-sourced food that appeal to tourists, this project will enable individuals to create economic opportunities for themselves by selling food to tourists and travellers.
We have big plans!
We see this project as evolving, and plan to expand it significantly over time. We see huge potential for various forms of education and training to empower the local Nicaraguan community to increase their self-reliance, sustainability, health & nutrition and economic opportunities. Our plans for the near future of this project include expanding our programs. We envision an organic agricultural program which will include organic cooperative support and further training in organic farming. We are looking at creating a community hub which will likely include a kitchen, market space, and demonstration and education garden.
We believe in transparency and accountability!
All non-anonymous donors will receive a link to a google doc transparently sharing the program spending as well as photos of some of the farmers, families and cooks involved in the program.
We are on the ground and making a difference!
Any donation, big or small, with help us to feed and empower the people of Ometepe.
We're in the process of researching and applying for stable funding sources from foundations and individuals. Please contact us if you have any recommendations.
We've been slowly moving toward Phase 2 of the project, integrating new locally available ingredients such as green papaya and coconut
Thanks for your support! Keep it coming. Our next recipe sharing session with the local meal providers and others from the community we next week.
Inanitah Fire Season team is on the ground working with members of the local community. With the money collected we are helping to meet the community’s most basic needs during this economically devastating downturn in tourism.
So far, we’ve been providing food to the most vulnerable children in the local community. Through your donations, we are feeding hundreds of children every week! The number of people in need is continuously growing. Simply feeding the disempowered is not a sustainable solution.
Our goal is to add an educational component to our community outreach program. We’ll be sharing recipes and self-sustainability practices, enabling our poorest community members to optimize local food resources in novel and nutritious ways.
This new phase requires a bit more initial funding. The good news is that it will empower those most affected by political and commercial volatility to maintain their autonomy and agency during troubled times now and in the future.
We look forward to continuing the meal service as we expand the program to include elements of education about the value of buying and eating local, inspiration for new locally sourced cost efficient culinary delights that incorporate more foods that are easily produced organically.
We're looking for your support to keep us rolling into the next phase. Every bit helps. If You don't feel to donate - spread the word by sharing this link... Or come join us onsite and be a part of the magic.
Lots of love to you all,
In just over 2 weeks, we've managed to raise over $2000 and serve over 500 meals. We've met the nearly met the goals of Phase 1. We've established a regularly scheduled meal service 3x per week and the current budget will take us through mid August. Another $500 will cover 2 more weeks of meals, taking us through the end of August.
Keep the donations coming :) The scope and the budget for Phase 2 are larger. If you can share this with your friends, we're very grateful.
Phase 2 begins in early September. Phase 2 builds on Phase 1 extending the reach to serve more meals and expands to include education about culinary, agricultural and economic sustainability.