In April, we celebrate Earth Day and Pope Francis’ call for us to care for God’s creation. As stewards of the Earth, we must tend to it—and to each other—with love. Around the world, a new generation of farmers is emerging, like Juan Aranda and Victor Gómez in El Salvador, just 24 and 17 respectively. Although they are young, they are already facing some of the greatest environmental challenges in history—challenges like changing weather patterns and a leaf rust fungus that recently decimated coffee crops across Central and Latin America.[tweet “Rebuilding a family business with help from @CatholicRelief.”
With the help of 8,000 new coffee plants from Catholic Relief Services, the young men have begun rebuilding their family businesses. And to prevent similar setbacks in the future, CRS is teaching farmers how to conserve water, keep soil fertile and grow sturdier crops. To date, CRS’s coffee programs have spanned 20 projects in 15 countries, reaching an estimated 250,000 people. These include farmers like José Luis in Guatemala, who also lost his crop to leaf rust.
“All of the coffee plants went down. It was everywhere. We were practically without food. When this happened, many friends left, they emigrated. They just left their work here,” José says. “ But [now]we have done it. We feel encouraged because we see that [there]is a solution.”
To read more, visit crs.org/stories/climate-change-guatemala-coffee-leaf-rust.
Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for Catholic Relief Services