Maya First is involved in many environmental projects, such as, reforestation (agroforestry, the science of how agriculture and forestry can enhance each other), permaculture (sustainable agriculture) and developing biodiesel from the Jatropha plant, which grows only in the tropics and burns much cleaner than regular diesel. The rest of the plant can be converted into clean burning pellet fuel for cooking fires.
The peanut farmers slash and burn and they don't compost, which is unfortunate given the poor soil conditions. We can have a huge impact if we can act quickly and help. The schools are in the process of starting gardens cared for by the students since our compost presentation to them in December of 2013. We are encouraging them to incorporate Alley Cropping, a farming technique developed by Mike Hands of the Inga Foundation. It is a sustainable replacement to slash and burn farming, that helps restore degraded land, decrease chemical useage, provide long term food security, and protects the rainforest. We have been invited to send three Mayan farmers to train and learn the alley cropping techniques with Mike Hands in Honduras in early March of 2015. We are hoping to secure funding to quickly take advantage of this opportunity.
Promoting these concepts and coordinating the efforts needed has left the tiny staff at Maya First exhausted, quickly using up the last of our funds and we are reaching out for some help. Now that we finally have our 501(c)3 status as a public charity and our NGO status pending with the Belize Government, we have the opportunity to make a real difference here.