The burbling buk-buk-buk of bucolic chickens greets a group of high schoolers visiting our farm in Tapachula. You started this farm one year and 4,200 pounds of produce ago to help vulnerable people staying in a nearby shelter. Migrants and asylum seekers can work on the farm if they’d like for a stipend. The farm receives 20% of the harvest and a workforce they can count on. The shelter receives 80% of the harvest to provide nutritious food for the people staying there. As inflation hits supermarkets across the globe, low-cost access to fresh food is a lifeline.
Our community of peacemakers is always looking for ways to improve what we’re doing. You wanted to make the farm project sustainable, so three months ago, you added a chicken coop to reduce food costs for the shelter and cover the agricultural costs at the farm. You brought 150 chickens as an initial investment, built a big coop for the chicks, and set up a safe area where they can run around because you know space and comfort are crucial for chicken productivity. The coop protects the chickens from wild birds, dogs, and lizards, which steal and eat the chickens’ eggs.
Although the chicken coop project is not sustainable yet, it is already reaping benefits. Eggs are used in the farm’s family-run restaurant or given to the shelter to provide a nutritious source of protein. The farm uses the chicken manure to make organic fertilizer to keep its crops healthy, The chicken coop provides a few more job opportunities for those staying at the shelter who want to learn new skills, earn a stipend, and soak up the tranquility of nature. When the chickens get too old to lay eggs, their meat will be sold to offset farm costs or made into tasty meals at the shelter.
Empathy Takes Root and Grows
The most powerful impact this project has had is an unplanned one. As tens of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers arrive in Tapachula in search of a better life, changes in immigration policy have stranded people in the city. People seeking safety need official documents from the National Migration Institute (INM) to continue traveling north through Mexico. As they wait for an appointment with INM and shelters reach capacity, many people are forced to sleep in the streets, parks, and other public spaces. Some locals view the influx of migrants and asylum seekers as a drain on public resources, which breeds resentment.
Local universities and high schools started bringing their students to the farm to learn about farming techniques, agricultural sustainability, and wildlife. At the farm, they meet workers from the shelter and learn about the hardships our migrant friends face in their search for a better life. Empathy takes root and grows. Now, more and more people from the local community are visiting the farm to help collect eggs and learn about farming from migrants. This knowledge exchange is fostering deeper ties between our migrant friends and the local community, building the type of social cohesion that outlasts a growing season.
As migration becomes one of the defining issues of our times, Preemptive Love is responding with stabilizing, sustainable programming. If you’d like to help those who have already lost so much, consider a donation today. Sign up for our newsletter to see how your generosity is a lifeline for those in need. Share this post to sow hope. Working together, we can create a world free from violence.
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