Learning to live off the land in Argentina

The Con los pies en la tierra (Feet firmly on the ground) training program offers students the chance to escape from poverty

The Con los pies en la tierra (Feet firmly on the ground) training program offers students the chance to escape from poverty The Con los pies en la tierra (Feet firmly on the ground) training program offers students the chance to escape from poverty

In a country like Argentina, with almost 149 million hectares of agricultural land, according to figures from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) the number of people suffering from food insecurity increased from 8.3 million in the 2014-2016 period to 14.2 million between 2016 and 2018. This represented a 71% increase and is one of the biggest leaps recorded worldwide. This figure seems paradoxical given that Argentina produces food for 400 million inhabitants and in 2019 it reached record production rates in the countryside.

Regardless of the causes that have led to this breakdown in food distribution, the Jesús y María de Tres Isletas community center offers training in order that young people and men and women in their community do not end up becoming another statistic in the country's soaring hunger rates. And one of their safest bets is agriculture.

In a place whose very name, finca La Esperanza, inspires hope, teacher, Osvaldo "Taty" Martínez trains students taking the Horticultural Worker course at the Vocational Training Center in order for them to learn the skills needed to be a horticultural worker.

Finca La Esperanza is a small farm which houses large greenhouses where vegetables are grown in order to be sold or sent to to the Community Center's canteen. It even boasts its own irrigation system.

These facilities belong to the Jesús y María educational center that works to provide both care and an education to the residents of the Alianza de Tres Isletas neighborhood. Since 2001 the center has been backed by Fundación MAPFRE in order to push forward with its plans to improve the quality of life of the people in this community.

The Con los pies en la tierra educational project provides students with the technical training needed in order to access employment. Or simply so that they have something to eat. In a country in which the land itself is overflowing with food, either of these two options is an opportunity to escape from hunger.