Foods Resource Bank Blog

Blog from Guatemala on 3/7/2012

Thirty years of armed conflict in Guatemala destroyed homes, forests and thousands of lives. To survive, people fled to other countries or more remote forests, foraging whatever edible plant foliage and roots they could find.  During these traumatic years, people forgot their indigenous practices along with the dignity of caring for home and family.

After the signing of the Peace Accord in 1996,  many people returned to their former homes and/or found new places to live in the mountains of the western part of the country.  More than 80% of returnees were illiterate, there  were no schools in these remote areas, only 5% were able to speak Spanish and there were nine of the twenty-one distinct languages in one department (equivalent to a state) alone.

Several FRB members and their local partners provide support to these indigenous people in their journey to bring healing in their lives and to “mother earth” while creating a future for their children without needing to leave their communities.

I’m reminded of the loss of knowledge of God’s people during their captivity in Babylon and their celebration upon their return when the law was read and its meaning unpacked for them. God’s faithfulness continues today to His people all over the world.  That is worthy of celebration!
Nehemiah 8:1-12

Written by Bev Abma, Executive Director of Overseas Programming

04/09/2012 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Pinolillo - A Traditional Holy Week Recipe

April's Recipe of the Month is Pinolillo.  Pinolillo is often made during Holy week but can be drunk any time of the year.  Since today is Maundy Thursday, we thought this a fitting time to post this recipe. 

Pinolillo is a corn and cacao drink made in many villages in Nicaragua. During the two weeks I spent in Nicaragua on an FRB trip in March 2012, our group was served it in most villages we visited. Also called pinol or atol, this type of drink is made in many countries in Central and South America. Of course each country has their own variation and different grains and spices can be used. Often, it is served in a gourd.

04/05/2012 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

“To him who judges my walk, I will lend my shoes”

As a newbie at a customer service position I had a long time ago, I got a call from a distributor who was quite rude to me. My boss told me not to worry, that I would soon be meeting the rude caller and the rest of the distributors in my region, and everything would change.  “People can’t be mean to you once they meet you in person.”  And I found that to be true.

04/02/2012 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Beyond “Hibernation”

Having made it almost to the end of a cold Michigan winter, I began thinking about the word “hibernate.” We Northerners often jokingly say we’re hibernating when we pull up the covers, snuggle close to the fire, and wait for the snows to melt and the first spring crocus flowers to bloom.  As a child I had always heard about bears hibernating in the winter. Last year, while doing some research for a friend, I discovered that toads hibernate in the winter, too. Even seeds hibernate.

03/26/2012 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Angela's Travels

I am sitting in Filer, ID looking out across dormant fields of wheat to the snow white mountains beyond and wondering just how lucky I am to be here. I spent yesterday with Isaac Hooley, a young farmer who works alongside his family on Stoneybrook Farm. Isaac runs The Seasonal Basket, an organic CSA that provides fresh vegetables and fruit his customers throughout the summer. After a tour of the farm, I ducked inside the warm greenhouse to help transplant lettuce and felt blessed to be part of the process of bringing food to a strangers table this summer.

03/14/2012 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Have you thanked a farmer today?

Since starting with FRB a year ago, I have had the privilege and pleasure of meeting farmers from around the globe.  Last week I wrote about my time spent in Filer, ID where I helped transplant lettuce and learned about growing wheat seed. I visited a small greenhouse operation that used hot spring water to heat the house in the cold Idaho winter. They grew micro-greens in one house and had citrus and even bananas in the other.

03/12/2012 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Kelsey Reflects on Her Recent Visit with Frate Sole Olive Oil


Last month FRB staff, board directors, and some volunteers traveled to out to the West Coast to the Sacramento area. There were two purposes for this trip: first was to hold a board meeting and second was to explore the potential for growing project development on the west coast.
Before I left, I was told that in Northern California they grow a lot of rice. Being from the Midwest, this sounded exotic and exciting … and it was. As my plane circled closer black fields of rich soil and glassy water stretched out all directions. The air often has a musty tang of rotting stalks and wet soil. As we drove north out of Sacramento toward the university town of Chico the rice fields continued but their vast darkness was punctuated by orchards clustered on alternating sides of the road. Being January, none of the orchards had leaves so brown dormant skeletons stood in row after row. Some were tall and majestic with spreading branches and some were short, stubby and sparse while others were twisted and rough barked.

03/05/2012 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Recipe of the Month: Stone Soup

From time to time, FRB comes across some amazing recipes from around the U.S. and World.   So, we decided to share them with our supporters.  Starting today, FRB will kick off the first weekend of each month with a yummy recipe we have learned in our travels.  

Our first recipe is for Bolivian Stone Soup.  We expected this to be the type of "stone soup" in the fairy tale for which a person starts boiling stones in the public square, and people, feeling sorry for him/her, bring whatever they have to add to it: a community effort.  These stones are to keep the soup hot and finish cooking.  Interesting!

03/01/2012 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

How to make "BOCASHI". Give it a try!

FRB visitors on a recent trip to Guatemala worked side by side with program participants to make an organic fertilizer called "bocashi" that they could use on their fields and in their greenhouses. Want to give it a try on your vegetable garden?  Here are the recipe and instructions. 


Bocashi is a solid fertilizer for soil only. It was created in Japan, and Bocashi is the surname of the person who invented it.

02/29/2012 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

"...But, what about pigs?"

Vernon Sloan has always self-identified as “just an old pig farmer from Williams County, OH.”  He and his wife, Carol, have been deeply involved with Foods Resource Bank (FRB) since its inception, as visionaries, planners, growing project leaders, and board directors.  They’ve also joined FRB on visits to program communities in the developing world, and are heartened by the many ways FRB “grows lasting solutions to hunger.”  

As FRB grew and its overseas programs began to include small animals – rabbits, goats and chickens for their potential for a fast turnaround on protein – Vernon would occasionally ask, “But, what about pigs?”

Well, several of FRB’s programs (in Colombia, Serbia, and Nicaragua, to name a few) now include improved pigs, often crossing them with native animals to combine improved red meat production with the hardiness of local breeds.  The local communities make the decision, when appropriate, to include pigs.  FRB, its implementing member organizations and their in-country partners provide training and access to the improved breeds.  In the Colombia-Sincelejo program, Durocky Landran pigs offer less fat, increased length and lean muscling.

02/27/2012 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More