Over a decade ago, a group of parishioners desired to launch an economic incubator in Santo Domingo. After researching several options, the group decided to start an organic teaching farm. An organic farm would improve the diet of the community and provide jobs for the workers. In 2010, St. Dominic provided the literal “seed money” to purchase a 6.5 acre farm in a valley in Chilitupan.
The farm group formed a non-profit board, contracted with Salvadoran agronomy firm, and met with local families to start the farm. Soon after, the farm produced 30 different types of organic fruits and vegetables. Each year, the farm became more successful and the families learned different organic farming techniques. Within a couple years, the farm was producing over 100 different types of fruits, vegetables, herbs, tropical plants, organic compost, medicines, shampoos, tilapia, and chicken.
In 2016, the farm families formed a self-governing and sustaining cooperative, “La Milpa de Chiltiupan” (The Seeds of Chilitupan.) The cooperative has been recognized by the Salvadoran Ministry of Agriculture for its successes. As a result of the farm, the members established a farmers market, community transportation, and micro-financing options to continue the growth of the agri-business.
Two years later, thanks to the support of the Solon Rotary Club, the cooperative built a community well that provides irrigation to the farm as well as pumps potable water to many families living in the valley near the parcel. Visiting the St. Dominic farm is one of the highlights of our visits to El Salvador!