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Federico explains to Fern how found items, which would normally be discarded, can save costs in the greenhouses project. For example, coconut fiber can be used as substrate ground covering.  Federico had many innovative ideas and also encouraged the artistry and innovation of the participant families.

The visit to Chajmaic, Guatemala was beautiful, uplifting, and awe-inspiring

Dear Fern,

On May 5, 2022, Fern traveled 12 hours with Sowing Opportunities' project manager, Ricardo San José, to the remote village of Chajmaic, Guatemala to witness the abundant harvest of the plants in the greenhouses pilot project. Ricardo planned every detail and capably drove the entire way, which is no small feat.

The trip was miraculous and took "only" 12 hours because, incredibly, there was no rain during the three days it took to travel there and back (May 4-6); the rain was profuse in the days before and after.

We felt protected and blessed. Thank you for your prayers, everyone. 


To give you an idea of the mountainous landscape, click on the photo above to see a 3-second video showing the landscape, driving from Río Dulce to Chajmaic

When Fern and Ricardo first arrived in the village, they were greeted with a large poster, welcoming them to Chajmaic and thanking Sowing Opportunities for the support that allowed the greenhouses project to take place.


Click on the photo above to see a 30-second video of Lety Cal Pa teaching Fern how to pronounce the words in Q'echqi' on the poster.

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Fern and agricultural engineer Federico Arriola Cuéllar stand with Roberto T’iül Cucul and his wife, Ermin Tzul Chub, and their family at their greenhouse.  There is so much pride and delight and hope in the village.  Click on the photo above to see a 1-minute video of Federico introducing Fern to the family members.

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Federico is skilled as an agricultural engineer, with training from Israel, Spain, and Brazil and is extremely knowledgeable about how to integrate that knowledge with current, local practices, and teaches in a generous and lighthearted manner. 

He had never before worked with such a remote community where perhaps 75 or 85% of the population don't speak Spanish and where perhaps 90-95% are illiterate. He devised methods to ensure their understanding, and the produce shows these results, such as using the width of one's hand or a certain number of fingers to measure centimeters, and a color-coded system and charts, incorporating the Gregorian calendar with the Q'echqi' system to indicate on which days to use fertilizer or fungicide.

Click on the above photo to see a 2-minute video of Federico explaining the system.

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Federico has taught the families techniques to have a high rate of production in a small space with less investment of effort and time. Click on the above photo to see a 1-minute video of Federico explaining how 120 corn plants are grown in the space of approximately 3 square feet (1 square meter)!

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Fern and Federico with Roberto T’iül at his greenhouse. Going from home to home, the abundant results were obvious. Click on the photo above to see a 2-minute video at the home of Martin T’iül Pop and his wife Gloria Gómez Cuclib. For additional content, see Guatemala Travelogue as well as Sowing Opportunities' YouTube channel.


On May 6, 2022, Roberto T’iül had a bountiful harvest of quilete, in the family of macuy or hierba mora.  This plant is full of protein and iron. The harvest is so plentiful that they have enough to eat and to sell. Because they didn’t cut the roots, it’s going to keep producing. This vegetable is in demand in Guatemalan markets, so the first business begins!


Finally, the envelopes with GTQ 200 = ~$25 each, were delivered in a ceremony that was followed by a feast, prepared by 30 women for 5 hours. Enough was donated by 20 individuals for the 30 families. The list of recipients and donors is on this page and photos are continuing to be added. In the above photo, Ricardo gives Martin Ical his envelope, which was donated by Aaron Cook of Malden, Massachusetts.

You may have noticed in the photos and videos above that only one of the greenhouse beds has plants. Because of the diligence and excellent results of the participants, in 10 days, Ricardo will be making the perilous journey of between 12 and 20 hours, depending on weather and traffic, from Antigua, Guatemala to Chajmaic, Guatemala, to deliver additional seedlings for those empty greenhouse beds.

We have a new challenge for you:

Would you consider helping us with the cost of the additional delivery of seedlings, in 10 days? The cost of this trip is $840, so your donation will mean so much.

Word is spreading in the region! Ricardo shared that two additional small, remote indigenous villages have heard and seen the miraculous results and would like to also have greenhouses!

We are grateful for your support, which has allowed us to reach this point and has brought so much hope and enthusiasm and nutritious food

Would you also share this email?

As always, 100% of your donation goes to this indigenous, remote village.

You can contact us at

Thank you again for making the greenhouses project in Chajmaic, Guatemala possible!


Fern with several of the women who prepared the meal for the celebration, May 5, 2022

Sowing Opportunities, Inc.
21 Ivy Road
Malden, MA 02148

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