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Santa Cruz Barillas, Guatemala
Partner: Adopt-a-Village in Guatemala
Total investment: $45,000 since 2015
Program Areas: Agriculture and Nutrition


Mothers jumped at the opportunity to enter the Vibrant Village gardening projects. They are dedicated to growing successful gardens and their hard work has paid off.
~ Frances Dixon, founder of Adopt-a-Village in Guatemala

In Guatemala, we are working in three communities located 30 miles from the Mexican border, in the municipality of Santa Cruz Barillas. Approximately 900 people live in the remote villages of San Carlos, Las Victorias and San Juan las Palmas. They represent two ancient Mayan linguistic groups, the Q’anjob’al and the Mam. Most villagers are subsistence farmers, growing corn and beans on small plots of land. During the coffee and cardamom season, the men migrate for labor, primarily to Mexico. Poverty is most extreme among single-mother households.

To combat the region’s chronic child malnutrition we partner with Oregon-based Adopt-a-Village in Guatemala to empower the Maya to grow nutritious food. The program focuses on organic techniques and traditional foods that are resilient to inclement weather, insects and disease. Seed-harvesting and seed-saving are two key elements of the program to help reduce the dependency on expensive hybrid seeds. The program also teaches mothers how to prepare the food they produce in a healthy and hygienic manner.

The project also includes an after-school reading program to improve early childhood literacy and motivate students to stay in school longer.

Achievements and Activities
  • Teach sustainable organic gardening methods to 65 indigenous families
  • Teach food preparation and kitchen safety and sanitation to 65 mothers
  • Teach basic reading and vocabulary-building skills to an estimated 125 primary school age children