Pontis Sustainable Agriculture Program
Our core work is helping farm families in the communities where they live.
"growth in the agriculture sector is 11 times more effective at reducing poverty than growth in any other sector”
Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President former Minister of Agriculture for Rwanda (The Guardian, June 3, 2015)
From Subsistence to Enterprise Farms
Model Farms are hands-on classrooms where our students and technicians test, prove and learn sustainable, less-chemical dependent farm methods. The Veracruz Demo Farm is the focal point for developing farm techniques that are the source of healthy small family farms.
Training Centers, co-located with model farms are community centers for teaching the Pontis program. This two-year course teaches 20-30 farmers how to increase crop yield, get better prices for their crops, and responsibly operate a small farm. Our sustainable farming methods make sure the soil is rich for their children to farm for generations to come.
On-farm mentoring brings Pontis agronomists and technicians to each student's farm where they coach farming methods, business practices and family health.
Program-integral micro loans provide startup capital for farm families to expand into lucrative cash crops such as passion fruit, peppers, squash, laying hens and more. The Pontis partnership makes sure loans are responsibly given. We walk with the family every step in paying back the loan and building their enterprise farm.
Graduation is always a great day!
The reality in Latin America is that young boys and girls may be working a farm from as young as 13 years old to well in their 70's.
Pontis education includes all ages, men and women, and frequently includes families. Parents want their kids involved because they know that is how they bring better lives for generations to come.
We Start and Finish with Families
Pontis work in Nicaragua is holistic. We live Jesus's gospel while serving, loving and growing some of the Americas' neediest people.
Take a Video Trip - Someday we hope you can travel to Latin America and see your support in action. But today, it is possible travel there virtually. Watch our 8 minute video, below, and see how we are growing stronger farms, better business, and healthier families.
You need even more? We love that. The link below will take you to our resource page that has even more information you might be interested in.
Ready to Grow - Pontis came to Nicaragua in 2003 when Leck Heflin and Byron Easterling, Pontis board member and strategist, explored, with a group of Nicaraguan pastors and advisors, how to design and build a small farm development program. God had placed a vision on Leck's and Byron's hearts for the poor in Nicaragua. This was the first step for them in response to His call.
Over the next ten years Leck traveled extensively in Nicaragua working to develop the vision and approach for a small team that could help the rural poor. In 2011 Leck and his wife Cynthia moved to Matagalpa and initiated the active development of Pontis Nicaragua. In 2012 he brought Ernesto Martinez onto the team to develop and teach the Pontis Sustainable Agriculture Program.
The Pontis team has continued to expand as farm families and community groups in more locations request Pontis education, mentoring, and development. Every month they reach even more poor rural farmers. Today, they are set to invest in the Pontis programs to reach more people, grow more farms, and walk with more families from poverty to prosperity.