Cade Pia & Ron Combs – Founders of Mesa Sostenible El Tambo, Nicaragua www.mesasostenible.com
MESA Sostenible – Sustainable Farm & Nutrition Kitchen Change is happening in Nicaragua. Rural communities are seeking a healthier and more prosperous future. In Nicaragua, approximately 65 percent of people who live in rural areas are poor with 80 percent being extremely poor and depend on farming for their main source of income. Due to unsustainable agriculture practices, climate change and the overuse of chemicals, nutritious crop productivity has declined and healthy chemical-free food remains scarce in rural regions. One-third of children living in rural Nicaragua are malnourished. El Tambo is a traditional rural farming community in Nicaragua that 82 families, 576 people call home. Four basic low market-value crops are grown there: rice, beans, corn, and plantains. These crops are only produced once a year using toxic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and soil tilling practices. The change in Nicaragua’s climate—now five years of drought and a shortening rainy season—has caused a serious problem for smallscale rural farmers in the Tola region, with water becoming increasingly scarce and wells not being filled during the wet 68
season. Farming livelihoods are at risk. MESA Sostenible will grow a wide variety of produce using a permaculture model that will demonstrate how nutritious organic food can be grown year-round without the use of soil tilling and agricultural chemicals. Soil tilling and the use of chemicals break down soil health, causing it to lose nutrients and moisture that are essential for healthy crop production and wholesome human consumption. The hands-on education program will include two main areas, sustainable farming education will be centered around a permaculture model using a wide variety of nutritious crops without the use of chemicals. Hands on cooking lessons will utilize organic produce grown on the farm to teach healthy food preparation techniques and vital nutrition education. Education and classes will be free to the local community. MESA Sostenible will serve as a role-model for rural communities throughout Nicaragua, whose agricultural sector is increasingly at risk due to changes in climate and unsustainable agricultural practices. The community of El Tambo is committed to a sustainable vision for growing healthy food, promoting economic development and protecting the environment. MESA Sostenible will spur economic growth. We will work with El Tambo to build
a community cooperative to supply the increasing number of local hotels, restaurants, and markets with organic produce. This economic model will provide the opportunity to increase household income whilst supporting community health.
love with during our travels.
We are Cade and Ron—the founders of MESA Sostenible — an Aussie and an American, respectively, who have a passion for sustainability, food and giving back.
Children will have a chance to grow up stronger with more aspiration to care for the natural environment. Increased household income means, going to university can now become a reality, not just a dream.
For the past several years, our work in food and hospitality found us in different parts of the world working on private yachts. Over time, we began to feel ourselves being pulled away from life onboard and towards one rooted in land and community. We left our comfort zone, sold everything we owned and moved to Nicaragua, an area we fell in
With backgrounds in cooking, nutrition, and permaculture design, we found ourselves wanting to impart our skills onto others who could use them to build healthy communities.
The community wants you to help build MESA Sostenible so they can learn how to grow nutritious organic food, become healthier and create more jobs. Change is happening, the community wants you to be apart of it.