On assignment: Conservation agriculture
Photo provided by Miriam Harder

During a monitoring visit to Jiñocuao, Nicaragua, Miriam Harder, right, stands with Francisca Guillen Castellon, a farmer participating in conservation agriculture trials.

Name: Miriam Harder

Hometown: Clavet, Saskatchewan (Pleasant Point Mennonite Church)

Assignment: I coordinate conservation agriculture research trials with MCC partners in arid regions of Mexico, Honduras and Nicaragua. Based on MCC’s success with this farming system in sub-Saharan Africa, we are investigating if it is useful here. I also work half-time on agroecology projects in rural Chiapas, Mexico, for Otros Mundos (Other Worlds), an environmental activism organization and MCC partner.

“I enjoy the chance to get to know people in rural communities across Mexico and Central America.”​

Typical day: A lot of my work is done from the computer at my home in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico. I communicate with partners by email or phone, write up project proposals and reports, compile the data we gather and manage the funds. During each growing season, I visit all the farmers, see the progress on the trial they are implementing and listen to their feedback. Through Otros Mundos, I plan and carry out workshops in rural communities in Chiapas.

Joys: After visiting fields and gathering data, I enjoy the chance to sit down with farmers for a cool drink and conversation about their lives in general and the farming practices specific to the region. I also have the privilege of building relationships with all the MCC teams across the region; they host me and help me to interpret each new context.

Challenge: The amount of time I spend during growing seasons traveling to Central America and within Chiapas makes it difficult to maintain a balanced, regular life at home in Mexico. I look forward to having time to invest in my local community and friendships in between trips.

conservation ag