Ontario Agriculture

The network for agriculture in Ontario, Canada

AALP Class 13 International Study Tour to Guatemala and Belize – February 28, 2011

A man of the land ! Our morning started with a walk to the Dandriga airport, that's right... Walk! Our class divided into three groups and we flew on small planes to Punta Guarda - but this was more than just transportation. We flew along the coastline, seeing shrimp farms, plantations and fields from 5000 feet. Due to limited seating, some of us were able to ride in the co-pilot's seat, - probably a once in a lifetime chance!

Today, we also had the chance to tour a farm. This is not out of the ordinary for members of an agricultural leadership program, but what is extraordinary about this farm is the farmer himself. Eladio Pop is a fifty two year old father of fifteen. He and his wife and family live in the village of San Pedro Columbia in Belize. Every morning Eladio wakes up bright and early and sets out on a forty five minute walk along the farm road to his pride and joy. The Agouti Cacao Farm covers 31 acres of rolling terrain and has been Eladio's passion since childhood. He knows so much about every species and variety of plant on his farm. AALP classmember, Ben Sterk commented, "He knows each plant like a dairy farmer knows each of his cows." We went up and down the hills and trails following a man who was so excited about his livelihood that it was contagious. On Eladio's farm, there are two pieces of equipment which he purchased, one is a machete, and the other is an axe. Today Eladio used the machete to show us everything edible on his jungle-like farm. We tried palm heart, cacao, bananas, coconut milk, coffee beans, allspice, Jamaican limes, sugar cane, white corn and lemongrass - and that was all before lunch! Eladio said that most of the things he grows, he eats with his family and that eating well keeps him strong and he doesn't get sick that often. Regarding his workload or any challenges, Eladio said, "I told Jesus to use me as his tool, because he is the guy for me right now." Every time we turned a corner there was something else amazing. This man loves life on the land.

Besides being a dynamic farmer, Eladio implements no till and organic farming methods. He prepares his corn field by cutting existing plants with his machete. He plants his corn using a no till corn planter... otherwise known as a walking stick with a one and a half inch diameter base! The stick is used to clear the vegetation away from where the seed will be placed, then poked vigorously into the soil. He places seven seeds in the hole, walks four feet and repeats the process. We asked him, "Why not change the population or spacing? Do you really need seven seeds in one hole?" He replied, "Some people put five, but my dad said seven is best because the stalks hold each other up and the rats and birds and things can't harvest their own corn so they can take some for themselves."

On a study tour like this, we have the opportunity to see many things, go to new places and meet interesting people but an important part of this program is that it makes us think. Today I'm thinking that even though Eladio farms 31 acres in the jungle in Belize and many of us are managing larger businesses in Ontario, we have many things in common. We enjoy learning, interacting with new people, sharing our knowledge, growing ourselves and growing food but we step back and look at ourselves, and for Eladio, family, faith, health and happiness are so important.

Andrew Chisholm, Matt Langford, Michel-Antoine Renaud – AALP Class 13

Views: 77


You need to be a member of Ontario Agriculture to add comments!

Join Ontario Agriculture

Comment by Laura Langford on March 3, 2011 at 11:13pm
Sounds awesome! Great Post!
Comment by OntAG Admin on March 3, 2011 at 5:57pm

Great story.



Agriculture Headlines from Farms.com Canada East News - click on title for full story

Confirmed finding of African swine fever in Haiti

Following the confirmed finding of African swine fever (ASF) in the Dominican Republic in July 2021, ASF has since been confirmed in Haiti.

Ag In The Classroom Launches Virtual Farm Tour Program

Agriculture in the Classroom Manitoba (AITC-M) has launched Follow the Farmers, a new virtual farm tour program for students in Grades 3-6. “This new program will help bring farming and agriculture to classrooms across the province in a time when getting out to a farm is just not possible,” said Sue Clayton, AITC-M’s Executive Director. “Since students can’t go to the farm, we’re bringing the farms to them, giving them the opportunity to learn, ask questions and increase their overall ag literacy.”

Grain Growers of Canada congratulate PM Justin Trudeau, urge a renewed focus on farmers’ priorities

The Grain Growers of Canada would like to congratulate Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada on their results in yesterday’s federal election.

Governments Investing $2.5 million to Bring Agri-food Research to Market

The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing $2.5 million to turn innovative ideas and solutions into marketable products that will strengthen Ontario’s agri-food sector and ensure Ontarians continue to have access to safe, high quality food the province is known for.

De Dell Seeds Has Turned Over a New Leaf

De Dell Seeds has turned over a new leaf, and transferred its ownership and management to the next generation. Founded by Vince Trudell in 1999, De Dell Seeds has grown and evolved over the past 22 years while maintaining its family roots.

© 2021   Created by Darren Marsland.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service