In Guatemala, sustainability grows in clusters. Last year was the region’s first major sustainability initiative, brought to life on an 18-acre farm dotted with plantain trees. The farm, though connected to the community, lies about five hours west in Aldea El Socorro – “Help Village,” as a rough translation. “Socorro” has the connotation of giving aid in times of trouble, which is an apt name for the project. Funds generated from this “Help Village” will indeed help many vulnerable children in moments of crisis.


The last few months have seen the literal fruits of so much labor, as the first third of the harvest has been completed. Local wholesale distributors bought over 9,000 clusters, with 16,000 clusters still waiting to be cut, processed, packaged, and delivered to the buyer.

A cluster averages around 33 plantains, meaning the harvest could yield roughly 800,000 plantains when all is packaged and peeled.

looking at the trees plantains

Of course, reaching this point was not without its challenges. Two hurricanes, Eta and Iota, ravaged Central America late last fall. Aldea El Socorro escaped the fiercest blunt of those storms, but residual heavy rains left the plantation’s lowest portion flooded. Likewise, strong winds this spring affected some plants, as the mature cluster’s heavy weight makes them susceptible to breaking. Despite those challenges, the team protected most plants from the elements that could easily have destroyed them. 


But plantain trees aren’t the only ones in need of some help. Without someone to care for and protect them, children are also battered by strong forces beyond their control, lost to the elements and broken by a harsh environment. With the right care, many will grow and flourish, producing good fruit and nourishing their families and communities. Dedicated Micro Community staff are constant gardeners. They nurture the children in their care, painstakingly cultivating their strengths and protecting them from external threats. This work is possible thanks to home-grown (and plantain-shaped) funding sources, empowering local-village families to provide for their own children along the way. It’s a virtuous cycle of investment with positive societal impact. 


As farmers reap the first fruits of the harvest, big plans come with it for a larger second yield — so the project grows with a harvest measured not merely in pounds produced but in lives transformed.  

Written by Jeff Luehm, LAC Program Coordinator