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Know Your Farmer

Name: Jose Thomas Villanueva

Age: 56

Product: Mango

Location: Quebrada Onda, Nicaragua

About: Since 2007, Jose has served on Sol Simple's internal safety and quality team for mango farms. During that time, he has also worked with other groups to help them become registered cooperatives and pass the organic certification processes. Jose is known as the "Faithful Farmer" for his commitment to both farmers and his community. When he is not in the fields, Jose volunteers at a local organization that helps children who are battling cancer

Name: Claudia Jemalario

Age: 31 years old

Product: Dragon Fruit

Family: 2 siblings (1 brother, 1 sister) and 2 children (son, daughter)

Location: Los Velasquez, Nicaragua

About: Before working with Sol Simple as a dragon fruit farmer, Claudia was subject to long hours and stressful working conditions. Through Sol Simple, she has been able to improve her quality of life and spend more time with her children. She hopes to continue working with Sol Simple so that someday she can pass down the land to her son and daughter. 

Name: Alejandro de la Cruz

Age: 79

Product: Dragon Fruit & Pineapple

Family: 7 siblings. 6 children (4 sons, 2 daughters)

Location: Los Velasquez, Nicaragua

About: Alejandro draws his inspiration from the lessons taught by his parents. He says that from a young age, he worked hard to provide for his family and overcome obstacles. Alejandro is proud of the land he owns and the family he has raised being a Sol Simple dragon fruit and pineapple farmer.

Name: Guillermo Moreno

Age: 39

Product: Dragon Fruit

Family: 6 siblings (3 brothers, 3 sisters) and 3 sons

Location: Los Velasquez, Nicaragua

About: Prior to being a dragon fruit farmer, Guillermo was helping his parents by selling hygiene products in a local market. One day, Guillermo's parents were able to acquire some fertile land in the small town of Los Velazquez and decided to become farmers. Since then, Guillermo has carried on his family legacy and hopes to continue doing so long into the future.

 Name: Idalia Margarita Ruíz Rodriguez

Age: 21

Product: Mango

Family: Niece of Julio Rodriguez (right)

Location: Diriomito, Nicaragua

About: As a mango farmer, Idalia is relatively new and will admit she is still learning the tricks of the trade. However, she is no stranger to the mango cooperative itself. Idalia is not only a committed farmer, but also the official secretary and a member of the group's education committee. 

 Name: Julio Rodriguez

Age: 74

Product: Mango

Family: 3 daughters, 1 niece

Location: Diriomito, Nicaragua

About: Julio has spent all 74 years of his life in the community of Diriomoto and has no interest in moving any time soon because he loves the people and is proud of his land. He works the land of mango trees with his wife, daughters, and niece, Idalia (previous profile). Julio is very involved in the formation of new cooperatives and is a member of Sol Simple's internal inspection and safety group (SIC). 

Name: Magdele de Jesus Moreno Lopez

Age: 27

Product: Dragon Fruit 

Family: 5 siblings (3 brothers, 2 sisters) and a 5-year-old daughter

Location: Los Velasquez, Nicaragua

About: Although Magdele is considered a young farmer, she is dedicated to her trade of farming dragon fruit and wants to make sure that she can pass down her land and skillset to her daughter. 

Name: Manuel Garcia

Age: 32

Products: Dragon Fruit & Pineapple

Location: Los Velasquez, Nicaragua

About: Fernando loves everything about farming dragon fruit and pineapple and 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 and is responsible for coordinating and executing the deliveries and pickups of the harvested crops for many farmers in the area.

Name: Manesio Moreno Ganda

Age: 80

Product: Dragon Fruit 

Family: 9 siblings (5 brothers, 4 sisters) and 10 children

Location: Los Velasquez, Nicaragua

About: Even though Manesio didn’t start working with organic dragon fruit until he was 35 years old, he is truly a master farmer. In his 45-year career as a farmer, Manesio has some dragon fruit plants that are 40 years old and still producing fruit.  

 Name: Jose Colino Mercado Flores

Age: 40

Product: Dragon Fruit

Family: 6 siblings (4 brothers 2 sisters) and 6 children

Location: San Juan de la Concepción, Nicaragua

About: One of the founding members of the Panama Cooperative (the oldest cooperative working with Sol Simple), Jose lives and works with his brothers and sisters who also helped establish the co-op. For Jose, farming is not just a job; it is a way for his family to spend time together and continue to strengthen their personal relationships. 

 Name: Javier Norori & Orlando Blas

Edades: Javier, 57 and Orlando, 59

Products: Dragon Fruit & Pineapple

Location: La Conceptión de Masaya, Nicaragua

About: 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 Sol Simple. Orlando admits that organic farming is very demanding, but knows that the farmers and consumers are no longer exposed to harmful pesticides and chemicals that damage the earth.

Name: Enrique Lopez Hernandez

Age: 60

Product: Dragon Fruit

Family: 6 siblings

Location: Laguna de Masaya, Nicaragua

About: Enrique began his life as a farmer working with rice under the guidance of his father. His transition to fruit didn’t come until later in life after years of growing rice. Enrique aspires to continue saving money so that he may buy better farming equipment to help increase his yearly harvest.
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