By: Libby Arcia
Published: 2018-02-22


LACN4 Figure 2

Figure 2. Elioena visiting her farm. Source: Cecilia Gonzalez

Elioena Arauz is a certified Bio-intensive Garden instructor who grew up in the Matagalpa region of Nicaragua. Matagalpa is the fourth largest city in Nicaragua and one of the most commercially active.   Matagalpa produces and exports beef, cheese, fruits and vegetables (Wikipedia, 2018). She grew up in this agricultural environment learning agricultural methods and skills that she continues to cultivate to this day. 

Elioena works with Artists for Soup, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing hunger, malnutrition, and poverty through empowering women and secondary school students. In this work, she is able to share her knowledge, and influence the life of low-resourced women. These women then lead community initiatives aimed at building the local economy and improving food security in a sustainable way.  Artists for Soup focuses on training and development of young, single mothers who are empowered to grow from managing their home and school gardens to become strong community leaders (Artists For Soup, 2018).

Elioena leads three school gardens and four home garden projects. She has watched women transition from passive to active community and family leaders, overcoming the traditional belief that women belong only in the home. The lessons learned, including punctuality, discipline and shared responsibilities, allow women to work as a team to meet production goals. The acquisition of new knowledge gives women the independence and confidence needed to become instructors and role models.

Elioena is a change agent working to replace traditional growing techniques with safer organic and bio-intensive methods. Through this work, she leads women toward personal growth and contributes to improve the nutrition of families and communities.

References

Artists For Soup. (2018). Artists For Soup. Retrieved February 16, 2018, from https://www.artistsforsoup.org/

Wikipedia. (2018). Matagalpa, Nicaragua. Retrieved February 16, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matagalpa,_Nicaragua