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Nicaragua Farm Initiative

  |   **FEATURED, business development, community programs, nicaragua, nonprofit, nutrition, organization, public health, spark, spark ventures   |   No comment

Back in 2014, Spark Ventures laid the foundation to begin a new agribusiness in the beautiful mountains of Matagalpa, Nicaragua – the El Tuma Farm. Made possible by many generous Spark supporters, the farm has expanded into 170 acres and has employed numerous local workers. The following details an update of this venture and the shift in Spark’s involvement in the farm.

 

The Vision…

Back in 2014, Spark Ventures laid the foundation to begin a new agribusiness in the beautiful mountains of Matagalpa, Nicaragua – the El Tuma Farm. Made possible by many generous Spark supporters, the vision included operating a 100-acre farm that would produce cacao, plantains, and honey as well as creating jobs for permanent employees and seasonal workers. Over the years, the farm has grown into 170 acres and has employed numerous local workers. Today, the farm has 38,000 cacao trees, 1000 plantain trees, passion fruit, a small crop of beans, and recently harvested over 400 liters of honey.

 


Local Leadership…

One of the most important steps taken in developing the farm was hiring Jerome Rodriguez to be the farm administrator. Jerome’s background in producing cacao along with his passion for the environment and community development has been a great fit. Today, Jerome manages the farm’s operations, including overseeing 7 permanent workers and up to as many as 25 seasonal workers. Since stepping into his role in 2016, he has become a strong leader, stayed focused on the vision, and remained dedicated to the farm through all of its successes and challenges.

 

 

Plantains on their way to the local market

 

Spark’s involvement…

Spark has been a shareholder of the farm since its inception in 2014. Former Spark team members Lucy Jodlowska and Christian Rath, along with former Board members Nick Schoewe, Tasha Seitz, and Bill Romans invested a significant amount of time and effort in the farm’s development. We are incredibly grateful for their work. While the initial plan was to involve Spark’s Nicaragua partner Las Tias in this project, they have chosen to remain focused on their work with families and youth in Leon. Over the last several years, Spark has gradually ceded its responsibility and ownership to other investors as we’ve focused our support in Nicaragua on Las Tias. 

 

 

Jerome (pictured) manages the farm’s daily operations

 

The Future…

Recently, Spark’s Board of Directors made the decision to donate Spark’s remaining shares back to the El Tuma Farm’s team of investors. This transition included making Jerome an official shareholder of the business he’s dedicated his life to. We are proud to have been a part of the farm’s history. Thank you very much to all of you who helped bring this venture to life. We wish much growth and success to everyone involved in the future of the El Tuma Farm.

     

  

AUTHOR - Alexa Santangelo

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