When a humanitarian aid organization, a farm, and a shelter decide to work together, something much bigger than a garden grows.

Asylum seekers and migrants arrive exhausted and hungry at Mexico’s southern border, sometimes after traveling through countless countries and risking their lives crossing the Darien Gap. They often have to wait for months to receive legal permission to travel in Mexico while they live without access to legal employment, food, education, and health services. They face racism and persecution from the authorities and resentment from the local community. It’s hard to know where to turn.

Using the fresh produce from the farm to make healthy meals at the shelter. Photo by Joe Tobiason

That’s why the Preemptive Love community has partnered with a local shelter for asylum seekers and a local farming family to plant an orchard and some vegetable gardens on communal land. The farming family provides the land, tools, technical advice, and a connection to the local community and receives 25% of the agricultural yield in return. The local shelter receives the remaining 75% of the harvest, so the people staying there have fresh fruit and vegetables. 

People staying in the shelter who chose to work on the farm learn new skills while earning a small stipend. Working there gives them a chance to leave the shelter and feel useful as they work side by side with members of the local community. Being in the tranquility of nature affords a peaceful place for people to breathe, let go, and release stress. And, the local community gets to know the people staying in the shelter, fostering community ties and a welcoming spirit.

The Preemptive Love community provides funding and technical advice, as well as monitoring and evaluation for the project, to make sure the project unfolds as designed and resources are used as intended.

This project exemplifies the very best of peacemaking by providing emergency relief in the form of access to fresh food for those in need, creating farm jobs where people can heal by working in restorative natural surroundings, and fostering peace by having people who may have initially distrusted one another unite to accomplish a common goal.

Thank you for supporting peacemaking around the world.

Photo by Joe Tobiason