Integrated agriculture serves rehabilitation ministry in more ways than one
Rick Ervin is a veterinarian working in Nicaragua. Since 2006 he and his wife Mary have been involved in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation ministry near Tuma-La dalia. At the ministry’s small farm men and women who have little or no financial resources receive care and chance to make a new start. The farm integrates animal systems including rabbits, laying hens and dairy goats with traditional crops such as corn and beans.
“Last year we produced sufficient corn for a year with a small amount to sell.”
Daily meals are grown right on the farm with Rick reporting that “Last year we produced sufficient corn for a year with a small amount to sell.” Persistent drought has made it difficult to meet all of the ministry’s needs and Rick says that “Our biggest challenges are increasing bean and vegetable production.”
In addition to traditional crops the farm grows moringa and chaya to increase nutrition and also grows coffee as a cash crop. The innovative cut and carry goat systems (pictured at right) serve as a model to local farmers to help them increase family food security and create incomes by making highly desired cheese. The men and women who are turning their lives around through the rehabilitation program are receiving excellent training in animal husbandry and good agriculture practice; building skills that will help them better provide for themselves and break the cycle of poverty and addiction.