Image by Clovis Castaneda

CEPC Tolimán

Guatemala

CEPC Tolimán is a community-focused permaculture initiative in rural Guatemala founded and run entirely by indigenous Mayan-Kaqchikel people. They are dedicated to protecting the environment and empowering the local community through ecological agriculture projects and training.

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 Their Story 

The village of Quixaya (where CEPC Toliman operates) is an incredible story of transformation. In the 1980s, 63 Kaqchikel Mayan families living in the Quixaya community were able to legally take back their ancestral lands after generations of working for a plantation owner. The families joined together to start an ecological community initiative. Using traditional Mayan knowledge and agroecological practices, they transformed the industrial monoculture farm into a lush, biodiverse permaculture system. In 2018, community members established CEPC Tolimán (Centro Ecologico de Permacultura Comunitaria Toliman) to continue practicing ecological agriculture and working towards food sovereignty.

 
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Their work focuses on:

  • Providing practical training and workshops that teach local Mayan families about ecological agriculture  and nutritional foods.

  • Managing community food systems including:

    • ‘Milpa’ native crop farms (Mesoamerican diversified system);

    • Community and family intensive gardens;

    • Aquaculture systems (tilapia and vegetables);

    • A food forest & agroforestry nursery;

    • A community chicken coop;

    • A demonstration kitchen & processing center.

Meet Ramiro

Ramiro is a Kaqchikel Mayan man with a wealth of knowledge in ecological agriculture and the Mayan cosmovision. He has over 20 years of experience practicing and teaching agricultural practices that blend permaculture with ancestral Mayan practices. Ramiro founded CEPC, which stands for Ecological Center for Community Permaculture in Spanish, in order to directly improve food security and economic opportunities within his native Kaqchikel village.

Past projects 

 
  • Community Chicken Coop

    • They built a community chicken coop! The first harvest generated $600 in profit which was reinvested back into the project.

  • Nursery

    • They planted over 4000 trees in our nursery which will be eventually planted in our food forest.

  • Community Kitchen

    • They built a community kitchen for workshops on food processing and nutritional cooking.

  • Nutrition Program 

    • They helped feed 64 children under 5 at risk of malnutrition.

  • COVID Aid & Supplies

    • They supported 12 families with food and emergency supplies at the start of the pandemic.

  • Solar Technology

    • They built a solar dehydrator, solar oven, and dry composting toilet.

Ongoing &  future projects 

  • Organic Market within the Quixaya Community

    • This will be the first produce market within the village. Currently, community members have to travel 40 minutes (16km) to the nearest town to buy or sell fruits and vegetables.

  • Native Seed Bank

    • Storage and distribution of native and heirloom seeds. This will ensure local availability of native seeds, improve local seed genetic diversity, and maintain Mayan seed heritage and legacy.

  • Mushroom Project

    • This project aims to jumpstart local production of oyster mushrooms and serve as an additional model for training and workshops.

  • Native Pollinators Project 

    • to protect and restore a native bee species locally known as ‘Doncella’ (Tetragonisca Angustula). Hives will be implemented in four agroforestry areas of fruit and coffee trees, totaling 1,600 m2. 

  • Nawal Oracle Cards Project

    • ​An art project which will share insights from the Mayan calendar system. Profits from selling the Nawal Oracle Cards will be used to help finance other activities.

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Support CEPC Tolimán in meeting their funding needs:

  • Organic Market within the Quixaya community. This will be the first produce market within the village. Currently, community members have to travel 40 minutes (16km) to the nearest town to buy or sell fruits and vegetables.

  • Native Seed Bank for the storage and distribution of native and heirloom  seeds. This will ensure local availability of native seeds, improve local seed genetic diversity, and maintain Mayan seed heritage and legacy.

  • Mushroom Project to jumpstart local production of oyster mushrooms and serve as an additional model for training and workshops.

  • Native Pollinators Project to protect and restore a native bee species locally known as ‘Doncella’ (Tetragonisca Angustula). Hives will be implemented in four agroforestry areas of fruit and coffee trees, totaling 1,600 m2. 

  • Project Manager Salary. Ramiro is currently volunteering to run the organization.

Support CEPC Tolimán in meeting their non-financial needs:

  • Social Media content (Facebook, Instagram)

  • Grant Applications

  • Marketing/Graphic Design/Translation for future “Nawales Cards” fundraising art project:

    • We are currently working on the “Nawal Oracle Cards Project”, an art project which will share insights from the Mayan calendar system. Profits from selling the Nawal Oracle Cards will be used to help finance the other activities.

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