Inauguration of the Central American Vía Campesina School in Chontales, Nicaragua

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Attendees at the 2017 inauguration of the Latin American Institute of Agroecology (IALA)

Friday November 10th was the inauguration of the Latin American Institute of Agroecology (IALA) campus located in Santo Tomás, Chontales, Nicaragua. The 233 acres are now a center for agroecological production and experiential learning among peasant farmers, workers, rural women and youth in Central America. Agroecological techniques will be applied within the school as a reflection of the united efforts towards food sovereignty in Central America and the world.

Festivities for the Inauguration began the day before the event, as members of La Via Campesina organizations from throughout Central America met in the Managua-based Francisco Morazán International Peasant Worker School for the movement’s Political Commission meeting. The next morning the 30+ participants traveled together by bus to Chontales, a three-hour trip of singing and chatting with advocates from brother and sister organizations around the world.

The Inauguration began with a mistica, led by Maria Canil, a Central American representative on the International Coordinating Committee of La Via Campesina and leader of CONAVIGUA in Guatemala. During the mistica we centered around different colored candles and designs made of corn kernels, beans and other seeds, recognizing and respecting our Mother Earth and the power that we have as a united group. Afterwards, leaders from Vía Campesina organizations in Central America shared their experiences as leaders in this movement, past experiences in the war and appreciation for the peace that exists today.

After the speeches we came together once more around the mistica and were asked to embrace those standing next to us. Santo Tomás’ inauguration was an exciting international event of solidarity and the beginning of many years to come of agroecology workshops and programs. The school is an important step towards food sovereignty in Central America and the world.

For more information about IALA please visit:

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Francisco Morazán School Facebook

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