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The Organic Agriculture Movement in El Salvador

From Destructive Conventional Sugar Cane to Beneficial Local Organic

At the 2018 Fair, Salvadoran organic farmer Juan Luis Avilés Moreno will speak at 10 a.m., Sat., Sept. 22, in the Litchfield Tent.

At the 2018 Fair, Salvadoran organic farmer Juan Luis Avilés Moreno will speak at 10 a.m., Sat., Sept. 22, in the Litchfield Tent.

September 18, 2018 – El Salvador cultivates over 300 square miles of sugar cane annually -- most with intensive use of herbicides, insecticides, human labor, irrigation and field burning. Much of the crop is grown for export, with profits flowing to a few wealthy families. This process often leads to contaminated water and soil, loss of water for human consumption or for local food production, harm to human health, and continued poverty.
 
As a featured speaker at MOFGA's Common Ground Country Fair, Salvadoran organic farmer Juan Luis Avilés Moreno will talk about conventional sugar cane cultivation and, alternatively, about the benefits of local, organic food production. He will speak at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 22, in the Litchfield Tent. His talk will be in Spanish, with interpreting in English.

Avilés Moreno, his wife and three sons grow organic cashews and cocoa trees on their land, which is certified through BCS Germany and FLO Fair Trade. He also works extensively with Salvadoran nonprofits. He has been a grassroots agricultural technician with CORDES (Foundation for Cooperation and Community Development in El Salvador) since 1993. He is a delegate of CORDES and CRIPDES (Association for the Development of El Salvador), as well as a leader of APROINORES (Association of Agroindustrial Producers of El Salvador). And he is an agricultural technician with MOPAO (Grassroots Movement of Organic Agriculture), which promotes organic farming first as a means of food security for Salvadorans and second as a way to participate in international markets in the United States, France, England, Germany and Canada. MOPAO also works with schools to educate children so that they will actively care for natural resources and the environment, and with senior citizen members of the Bajo Lempa Rural Association of Older Adults. Regarding sugar cane cultivation, MOPAO advocates for stopping the use of prohibited agrochemicals, the indiscriminate use of El Salvador's limited water supply, and field burning.
 
Avilés Moreno is also a former board member of UK-based Liberation Foods, which markets produce from small-scale nut growers from around the world. He has shared his expertise during trips to Europe, South America and India.
 
Avilés Moreno comes to the Fair as a guest of the MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee. His talk ties in with the 11 a.m. keynote on Saturday, in which Baldemar Velasquez, president and founder of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, will speak about "Our Food System: The Tie to Immigration, Migrant Workers, Exploitation and Human Trafficking."

For more information about the Common Ground Country Fair, call 207-568-4142 or visit The Fair on mofga.org.

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