EARTH DAY 2016

Organic Farming:
Better For Your Health. Better For The Earth. 

People everywhere are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of nutrition and how organic food directly affects one’s overall well being. And while it is widely known that processed foods are responsible for a variety of health problems, it is less known that processed foods have a negative effect on our environment.

As the demand for healthy food continues to increase, it is essential that consumers understand that organically grown food isn’t only better for their health, but also essential to the health of the planet.

Eliminating soil and water contamination
Since organic food production strictly avoids the use of all synthetic chemicals, it does not pose any risk of soil and underground water contamination.

Protecting local wildlife
By avoiding toxic chemicals and carefully maintaining growing areas, organic farmers protect local wildlife rather than destroying natural habitats.

Conserving biodiversity
The avoidance of chemicals and use of all natural farming methods have been shown to help conserve biodiversity as it encourages a natural balance within the ecosystem.

Fighting against global warming
Purchasing crops from local farmers automatically reduces carbon dioxide emissions because less energy is used for transportation.

At Sol Simple, we understand the importance of organic farming and its positive impacts on the environment, which is why we partner directly with farmers and NGOs everyday to promote farm diversification and organic certification.

In 2015, we worked with over 300 farmers and, under our program, preserved almost 670 acres of land for organic farming. Our agronomists and field team identify farmers and develop diversified and integrated production systems using agroforestry on small farms to help farmers extend land use and preserve the areas for future generations.

Every day is Earth Day when you support organic farming because it not only protects the environment today, but also creates a positive, long-term impact for years to come. Check out our Impact Page to learn more about our sustainability efforts and see how we are pioneering solar drying technology in Nicaragua. 

Know Your Farmer

Farmer Profile #3

Did you know that it takes almost THREE YEARS for a single pineapple to fully mature? Meet Fernando! Fernando knows everything there is know about pineapple and is one of the many pineapple farmers we work with to bring our fans the highest quality organic dried fruits.

Producer: Fernando
Fruit: Pineapple and Dragon Fruit (Pitahaya)
Years with Burke Agro: 2

Fernando explains to us that the time dedicated to planning and planting is only part of his commitment to producing the highest quality fruit. He also meticulously cleans and examines each piece of fruit by hand.

Besides being a skilled producer of both pineapple and pitahaya, Fernando is responsible for coordinating and executing the deliveries and pickups of the harvested crops for many producers in the area.

Thanks for all of your hard work, Fernando!

Know Your Farmer

Farmer Profile #2

Have you ever seen a dragon fruit farm? Dragon fruit does not grow on a tree but rather a fruit-bearing species of cacti that is native to Central and South America. Dragon fruit is unlike any other fruit, in appearance, taste and its ability to grow in strange, exotic places.

We love educating our fans and we are happy to share our dedicated farmers’ knowledge of this interesting fruit with them. We are continuing our Farmer Profiles this week with Carlos. Carlos is one of the 50 dragon fruit farmers in the area and his fields prove just how interesting this fruit really is.

Producer: Carlos
Fruit: Dragon Fruit (Pitahaya)
Years with Burke Agro: 4
Location: Paulo Solo Zona en la communidad de San Ignasio, Nicaragua.

Carlos’ fields are located on top of a narrow mountain pass with beautiful views and (of course) lots of pitahaya. Unlike many other fruit trees and bushes, pitahaya (dragon fruit) plants can grow in seemingly unnatural locations – like on the side of a mountain. Carlos tells us that the majority of his crop is growing on these steep mountain slopes and thrives in rich volcanic soil.

Carlos has spent the past four years with Burke Agro but has been a pitahaya producer for over 20 years. He loves working with organic crops and is grateful to be harvesting pitahaya because it is very delicious and has a very high demand in the international market.

Thanks for your sharing your knowledge of pitahaya with us, Carlos! We can't wait for this year's harvest.  

Know Your Farmer

Farmer Profile #1

Sol Simple works with hundreds of small farmers in Nicaragua. Why? Because we believe there is something to be said about knowing where your food comes from.  A few weeks ago we set out to visit some of the farms from which we source our pineapples and dragon fruit (pitahaya). The dragon fruit season ended in November, but our hard-working producers are already preparing their crops for next year’s harvest.

Let’s meet some of our producers!

Producers: Javier and Orlando
Fruit: Dragon Fruit (Pitahaya) and Pineapple
Years with Sol Simple: 3  
Location: Zona de ubica de 8.5km de La Conception de Masaya, Nicaragua

Javier and Orlando switched to organic farming about 4 years ago. They are very pleased with the crops and happy to be a part of the cooperative working with Burke Agro.

Orlando admits that organic farming is very demanding and requires a large amount of preparation. But, as a result of switching to organic, the farmers and consumers are no longer exposed to harmful pesticides and the chemicals no longer damage the earth.

Javier says he is always fighting hard around this time of the year because of the heat and dryness, which can dehydrate the crops. But Javier is an expert and has battled through these conditions before. He is ready for a great harvest.

Thank you for your hard work and commitment to organic farming, Javier and Orlando!

Fighting Cervical Cancer With The Lily Project

Imagine:

You’re a single mother.

You’re a single mother living in a developing country.

You’re a single mother living in a developing country and you support your family on a dollar a day.

You’re a single mother living in a developing country. You support your family on a dollar a day and don’t have access to healthcare or basic medical necessities.

You’re a single mother living in a developing country. You support your family on a dollar a day, don’t have access to healthcare or basic medical necessities and just developed cervical cancer – a treatable and preventable disease that has an 85% mortality rate in developing countries.

Imagine.

The fear. The panic. What would you do?

Most of us could never even fathom being in this situation, but for countless others, this nightmare is all too real.

Like so many other women in Nicaragua, Anielka Medina Escoto’s family was directly impacted by cervical cancer. Just after graduating high school, she experienced her 48-year-old mother’s excruciating battle and death from this preventable disease.

As tragic as Anielka’s story is, she is not alone. Nicaragua has the highest cervical cancer mortality rate in the Americas both due to its inadequate health care system (PAP screening is available to less than 10% of women) and prevailing “machista” behaviors that propagate HPV, the cause of cervical cancer.

It is estimated that women, without a spouse or partner, head up 40% of households in Nicaragua. Cervical cancer, a disease that is very treatable and preventable in countries like the United States, contributes to more than 85% of cancer-related deaths in developing countries, like Nicaragua.

Cervical cancer destroys families and leaves children on their own, with extended family, or at the care of the community. Without a father, without a mother, without a home, the children are often alone in a seemingly endless cycle of poverty and despair.

Fortunately, Anielka’s story didn’t end the way most do.  Through strength, courage and a desire to help others, Anielka earned a scholarship to university (UNAN), trained in cervical cancer prevention, and co-founded The Lily Project with partners Jonathan Butcher and Susan Cotton.

The Lily Project was founded on a simple belief; every person has a right to health - not just the absence of disease, but also a state of complete physical, mental and social well being.

The team is working to become the most trusted provider of health services for women and girls living in rural communities, and prevent cervical cancer for more than 200,000 impoverished women.

It is because of these beliefs and efforts that we teamed up with The Lily Project for our first annual free treatment and screening event on Dec. 10 in order to educate and empower over 100 women and mothers. Sol Simple understands that women are the heart and soul of their families and communities, because single mothers are also the strength of ours.

Sol Simple employs hundreds of single mothers in marginalized communities in an effort to advance the overall well being of women and their families in Nicaragua. We coordinate directly with local government, educational institutions and international developmental agencies to provide these women with the skills and means to better their lives and surroundings.

To learn more about The Lily Project and its mission, please visit:www.thelilyproject.org