Sowing Opportunities’ 2023 Annual Report

In 2015 a ten-year-old girl, adopted in the U.S. from Guatemala, expressed her desire to find her biological family.  This led to a pioneering effort for a remote, previously forgotten region in the Eastern Highlands of Guatemala, to have greenhouse agriculture.  Two villages now have food security, as well as a commerce and leadership development where previously they had only hunger, malnutrition and desperation.

Just outside the village of Chajmaic

Sowing Opportunities is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit that is building this capacity and providing resources to indigenous families in villages in this region, which is isolated, without other resources.  Villages may be an hour apart from one another, in the mountains. There is no tourism.  The inhabitants have not encountered people that don’t live there.  This Guatemala is unknown, including by the majority of Guatemalans.

Family in Chajmaic, outside their home, with Sowing Opportunities’ project manager and agricultural engineer, 2015

Their land is rocky and unfarmable.  Their homes have mud for floors.  Getting an internet signal is scarce.  The only water is from a polluted river.  Only 15% of the people in the indigenous villages speak Spanish; most speak only their native tongue of Q’eqchi’. 

Each family selects seedlings for their greenhouses in Chajmaic, April 2022

In 2022, Sowing Opportunities began a pilot greenhouse agricultural project in the village of Chajmaic, Guatemala.  In 2023, the greenhouse project expanded to the remote indigenous village of Salaguna, which has mostly women leaders.  Many of the men left to try to get to the U.S. and the women were left to care for their children.

Classes in Salaguna, February 2023

Women participants built greenhouses even while carrying their babies on their backs.  Sowing Opportunities’ team delivered seedlings, corn kernels and soil as well as expert tech training of how to grow vegetables in greenhouses: how deep, how far apart, how much to water, and how many days apart to apply organic fertilizer made from chicken manure and organic insecticide.

Receiving color-coded chart, insecticide and fertilizer, with instructions of when to water, even for people who cannot read or write

The inhabitants – mostly women – worked together to cut and separate the plastic ground cover Sowing Opportunities delivered and plastic tarp for greenhouse roofing to protect them from the elements as well as iron arches for the roofs. The team also delivered proprietary Sowing Opportunities fertilizer and insecticide products and a color-coded schedule of what to use on which day, which can be used even by those who cannot read or write.

The result of their cultivation is that they can make regular harvests at their homes.  Salaguna leader Delfina Cucul Chub says in her native Q’eqchi’, “Now that we have greenhouses full of fresh vegetables, we have hope for the first time. This is a blessing in our lives.” 

You can see how difficult the terrain is.  The people of Salaguna have to carry water on their backs or on their heads, and travel 2 km up a steep, rocky mountain to bring water to their homes on a daily basis.  During winter, in the rain, it’s even more slippery.  

Jeremías García Coy and Marta Molina Choc, Salaguna, March 2023

Another Salaguna participant, Jeremías García Coy says, “You are giving us more than the greenhouses.  You are giving us more than we can see.  You are giving us respect, which no one else has.  We are forgotten by the world.”

Sowing Opportunities team: Agricultural engineer Federico, Executive director Fern, Social worker Licenciada Lety and Project manager Ricardo, March 2023

In 2023, thanks to your donations, our agricultural engineer and social worker spent 65 hours per week for three months working with participants to develop their greenhouses.  Support, guidance and telephone consultations were provided year-round. 

Enma Floricelda Cruz Chub stands in front of her lush greenhouse in Salaguna with her daughter Evelin Concepción Caal Cuz, 5 years old and holds her son Byron Rodolfo Caal Cuz, 1 year old.

We were able to provide resources for 75 families in two villages in Eastern Alta Verapaz, Guatemala to have greenhouse agriculture at their homes and to sell in the market for family income. That means that nearly 500 people now have food security in a region where there was none previously.  Of these, 60% are children.

Women embraced leadership!  Forty-five women in Salaguna are working in the greenhouses project.  Their motivation is strong due to the desire for a life with dignity for their children without hunger.  Sowing Opportunities does its best to give a breath of hope to this community of warrior women who are seeking opportunities for their next generations. 

Salaguna Project Leader Delina Cucul Chub maintains unity among the 45 participating families in Salaguna and assures their commitment.  She also promotes goals, such as a new group of five women who have emerged as leaders in terms of information and communication.

One of those leaders is Marta Ché Putul, who tells us, “Thank you for coming to this village to teach us how to make a greenhouse.  Now I am teaching my children and they will be able to do so, too. When the team gave us the seedlings, there was a lot of sun, but the water is too far away to bring it to the greenhouses.  With rain, we have been able to water the greenhouse.” One of Sowing Opportunities’ future projects is water accessibility and filtration for the villages.

Social worker Licenciada Lety gets commitment of the women in Sisbilhá, December 2023 

On January 13, 2024, the Guatemalan team of three (project leader, agricultural engineer, and social worker) is scheduled to travel to the remote indigenous region in the Eastern Highlands of Guatemala to continue the project, now in three villages – Chajmaic, Salaguna and Silbilhá. 

Resources will then be provided as well as 2,913 in-person hours of training with the three-person team with 105 families – over 700 inhabitants –  in the region to have food security through greenhouse agriculture.

Corn growing in Chajmaic, Guatemala, July 2022, at 85 days

Sowing Opportunities is working towards economic, social and racial justice in a forgotten region of the world.  We cannot do this life-changing work without you!  You can make your donation at

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Thank you for being in community with us and for putting your care into action through your support of Sowing Opportunities!