3-5-15  |  Success Story

Katherine: Entrepreneur, Farmer, & 8th Grader

BY: Anina Hewey

Katherine and her older brother on their grandfather’s land

She’s only in 8th grade, but Katherine, a Fabretto secondary student, has already achieved what many Nicaraguan farmers have dreamed of for years – and more. This motivated young woman has multiplied production on her family’s farm, introduced a new crop (chia seeds), and sells her crops to Mayorga Organics, a direct trade company that sells coffee in the U.S. market. Not only that, but she’s committed to organic production and protecting the environment.

Last year, Katherine and her grandfather, Pedro, successfully planted and harvested beans and organic chia. Their profits allowed the family to buy 3 dairy cows and to prepare more land to expand their crops in 2015. We sat down with Katherine to ask her a few questions about her experience in agriculture and in Fabretto’s education programs. Read on for Katherine’s story, in her own words:

What gave you the idea to plant chia?

I received information from Fabretto technical staff member Donald Osorio and from the Rural Education program teacher in my community, Franklin Carrasco. Nobody in my entire family knew about this crop, but I mentioned Fabretto’s project to my grandfather. With his support, I decided to plant chia.

Katherine’s grandfather and mentor, Pedro, is 74 years old. His land borders the Somoto Canyon and the Rio Coco in northern Nicaragua. 

With whom do you work?

Our whole family supports the farm, but my older brother, my grandfather, and I are the most involved. We wake up very early every day to tend the land.

What do you like about chia and about your work?

The most important thing for me is learning about new crops, like chia, to develop skills and also meet visitors like Martin Mayorga [the owner of Mayorga Organics] and his team. I can also support other farmers in my community, and this is one way that I’m able to share what I learn in school through Fabretto. I like chia because it requires a lot of attention in the first month of growth, but it also grows well and it’s a healthy product. I feel good about producing healthy foods, and I hope other students and farmers will also plant it.

Tell us about your experience in Fabretto’s Rural Education program.

I began the first year of the program in 2014 in my community of Sonís, Somoto. This year, I’m in 8th grade. I feel like I get a lot of support from Fabretto’s staff, not only in the classroom through the books that we read, but also practicing agricultural production of beans, chia, and watermelons.

Katherine at work on her family’s farm

What are your plans and dreams for the future?

I think I’d like to learn about new crops and continue to work on the ones that we have. I hope to create a savings account for a college fund and save part of what I earn so that I can cover my university tuition and expenses. I want to keep supporting my family with our farm, which is our livelihood.

We’re confident that Katherine and her family have a bright future ahead.  Want to get involved to support Katherine and her fellow students?  Click here to learn more about the Rural Secondary Education program, or make a donation to support the program today. You can also help by sharing Katherine’s story with your networks on social media. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more updates and inspiring stories.

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