At first, in the midst of the 1980s Farm Crisis in the United States, a group of Nicaraguan farmers traveled to Wisconsin on a speaking tour to share their experiences forming cooperatives. A group of Wisconsin farmers, who had already organized in response to the farm crisis, realized that they had a lot to learn from this group.
The Wisconsin farmers traveled to Nicaragua, and out of that experience Farmer to Farmer was formed. The vision of that early organization was to build friendship and understanding among rural people so that we might better understand our common struggles.
In 1989 Craig Adams, Lucy Altemus and their three children, Erin, Sam and Louis, went to Nicaragua for a year to help a cooperative there develop a dairy project. This experience clarified for Craig and Lucy the connection between U.S. foreign policy and economic and social conditions in Latin America.
And then, in 1991, Farmer to Farmer received a solicitation from a community of traditional Mayan weavers (Comite de Desarollo de Tejedores) in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala, requesting assistance to resume farming after the devastating civil war in that country. Our support began with seed money and a visit.
Over the years we have connected community members to organic training and support, purchased farmland for the group, provided educational and scholarship assistance, helped build a weaving workshop and showroom in downtown Santiago Atitlan, and marketing the community’s textiles and beadwork in North America.