2017 Year in Review
Puente's grassroots, community health model addresses both the malnutrition and obesity problems of Mexico, and aims to provide significant economic benefits to indigenous people in one of the poorest areas of the country. This year, we continued to create opportunities for more than 1,200 low-income families in 30 Oaxacan communities by increasing access to amaranth, a nutritious super food native to Mexico. Our programs made great strides.
- Healthy Families Program: 660 marginalized women improved their nutrition and health through summer nutrition camps, healthy cooking workshops, and amaranth vouchers.
- Eco Amaranth Program: 373 small-scale farmers learned to grow amaranth using organic best practices.
- Social Economy Program: 30 amaranth microenterprise groups innovated new products and increased their sales by 32%.
Our key priorities for 2018 are building amaranth farming and processing infrastructure and strengthening participant capacities. This scalable model offers important opportunities to improve nutrition, agriculture, and economic livelihoods in one of Mexico’s poorest states. We focus on building grassroots leadership and strategic alliances to achieve lasting impact. Our Regional Amaranth Cooperatives made important progress, and the food policy coalition founded by Puente hosted a second national conference.
The results of our work led to key publications in NPR: The Salt “Why Mexican Chefs, Farmers And Activists Are Reviving The Ancient Grain Amaranth” and a special edition all about amaranth in Mexico’s national publication La Jornada del Campo.
In response to the challenges stemming from climate variation in Oaxaca, Puente designed and broke ground on an eco-center to contribute to community-level research and innovation. The team at the eco-center is collecting on-site climate data, experimenting with soil and water conservation techniques, and piloting cost-effective eco-construction methods. We will focus on phase two of this project next year to build sustainability and share the results with participants in the 30 communities we serve.
Amaranth from Farm to Table
In 2017, Puente suffered an office break-in, Oaxaca was hit by an 8.2 earthquake, the largest in a century, and an excessive amount of rain resulted in significant crop loss. However, in the face of this difficult news, Puente’s community partners, staff, donors, and allies have shown an incredible amount of resilience to not only help us get back on our feet, but to press forward with renewed energy to strengthen our community impact.
In the face of such difficulty, it might seem surprising that a festival would remain the community’s priority. But in Oaxaca, festivals function as a motor for social cohesion and economic development. Therefore, we continued with our sixth annual Amaranth Day this October, bringing together over 250 farmers, 10,000 members of the general public, and 40 allied NGOs to celebrate food sovereignty, amaranth and community health.
During this year’s Amaranth Day, we made the largest tejate with amaranth drink in the world, measuring 200 liters. Tejate is a ceremonial Prehispanic beverage, and by adding nutrient-dense amaranth, Puente demonstrated how amaranth can contribute to nutrition as well as culture. Oaxaca and Mexico are famous for food and fiestas, and Puente has thrived by including amaranth in these important cultural traditions.
Puente continued working to position amaranth as a strategic crop in Oaxaca and Mexico. We worked in coalition to designate a national holiday in celebration of amaranth. We worked with internationally recognized chefs to innovate with locally farmed amaranth in their restaurants. For the first time, we successfully commercialized amaranth leaf, increasing its presence on menus throughout the city and worked with Slow Food to increase awareness of amaranth’s nutrient-rich leaves.
We wouldn’t be here today without the many ongoing and first time donors who have contributed to our cause, on behalf of the communities we serve we thank you! Puente has a unique opportunity to double your donation thanks to a generous challenge grant. Please Join Us for the opportunities and challenges in 2017! Be a part of the Puente team (family).
This year Puente recieved gifts from both institutional and individual donors. THANK YOU to the following partners
- Acting for Life
- Clif Bar Family Foundation
- Dining for Women
- EMpower Emerging Markets Foundation
- Fundación Merced
- Fundación PepsiCo de México (one of only 2 organizations to receive an award)
- Fundación Walmart
- Jack DeLoss Taylor CharitableTrust
- TASH, Inc.
- Vista Hermosa Foundation
- Over 100 individual donors
We would also like to extend a Special Thank You to our Amazing Volunteers!