WSC to Host Presentation on the Maya Nut and Sustainable Agriculture, Sept. 14
Sept. 8, 2010 -- Erika Vohman, founder of the Maya Nut Institute, will present an overview of the Maya Nut and the Maya Nut Institute, which provides a new approach to rainforest conservation and poverty alleviation, at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 14 in the south ballroom of the Western State College of Colorado (WSC) College Center.
In her presentation, Vohman will discuss how a successful rural development program works to empower rural communities to resolve social, economic and environmental problems with minimal outside help or interference. She also will show a short video of the Institute’s recent program expansion to Haiti.
The Maya Nut Institute works to rescue lost traditional knowledge about a nutritious and abundant rainforest tree seed, the Maya nut (Brosimum alicastrum), in rural and indigenous communities in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. By increasing awareness of the value of this multi-purpose tree for rural families, the Institute motivates conservation and reforestation. The Institute teaches a one-day class for rural and indigenous women living near Maya nut forests about the sustainable harvest, nutrition, processing, recipes and propagation of the Maya nut. Communities where the Institute has trained have planted more than 700,000 new Maya nut trees. Hundreds of women have formed independent Maya nut processing cooperatives, and 6,000 community members now earn income from harvesting, processing and marketing Maya nut products. These communities are reforesting degraded and marginal lands with Maya nut trees to increase future harvests.
Vohman has worked in rural development in Central America since 1991. She received her B.S. in biology from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1989 and a M.S. in agronomy from the University of California at Davis. She founded the Maya Nut Institute (formerly known as The Equilibrium Fund) in 2001.
This program is free and provided in partnership with the Friends of the Gunnison Public Library and Savage Library, Western State College. It is presented as part of Western’s Year of Sustainability program.