The Trinidad Conservation Project (TCP) is a grass-roots community of individuals and churches in the Washington, DC area and committed to working with rural farming families in central Honduras to sustainably improve their lives and their environment. We do this by partnering with non-profits who implement our work on the ground and who share our commitment to sustainable, community-led, locally-based human and economic development and environmental stewardship. Our goal is to provide emotional and financial support, technical expertise and to personally share their journey out of extreme poverty into a better future for themselves and their communities. TCP has evolved over time but always with the same vision.
As of the summer of 2015 summer, TCP established two new non-profit partnerships to make our work possible: Vecinos Honduras (Vecinos) and Groundswell International (Groundswell).
Vecinos Honduras is TCP’s new Honduran partner. Edwin Escoto, the Executive Director of Vecinos Honduras, is an agronomist with years of experience in promoting sustainable agriculture through community development. Edwin and his team identify local leaders and help them set goals for better nutrition and food security, better community health, and empowerment of women and youth. They support local farmer innovation and farmer-to-farmer teaching of successful techniques. TCP and Vecinos have agreed to work together, through a series of renewable three-year agreements for the agro-ecological development of small mountain villages in the Santa Bárbara Department, including the communities TCP has supported in the past.
Using local organizations, Vecinos has reached a large number of families in its work in southern Honduras. For example, in the southeastern region of Guano, Vecinos’ work over 8 years has benefited 250 families with improved health practices in their homes and over 300 families with agro-ecological techniques, including creating home gardens, using local seeds and making of organic fertilizer. Through its partnership with Vecinos, TCP expects to reach more families in the communities it has already supported, and to reach additional communities in the department of Santa Bárbara in Honduras. Learn more about Vecinos on their website.
Groundswell International is our new U.S. partner that works with Vecinos and other local partners in eight countries in Africa and Latin America to develop sound agro-ecological practices and to promote food sovereignty and community health. Their focus is on farmer innovation and farmer-to-farmer teaching, community health and nutrition, and strengthening local organizations to lead. This approach serves TCP well at this stage of our work. You can find out more aboutGroundswellat their website.
Groundswell International is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and has agreed to accept tax-deductible TCP donations on our behalf and distribute them to our Honduran partner, Vecinos Honduras. Please make a donation to the TCP on the Groundswell website, and be sure to write “for TCP-Honduras” in the “Additional Information” box toward the bottom of this page so that your donation will be routed correctly.
At its most ambitious, the goal of the Trinidad Conservation Project is to help improve life in rural communities so that farming families can remain in the communities and will not have to migrate to cities within Honduras or the United States to make a living. Over time the specific assistance has evolved. As a network of individuals and churches and not a legal entity, TCP has always partnered with a legally recognized not-for-profit organization in the U.S. and in Honduras. In 2006, TCP partnered with the Episcopal Dioceses of Washington and Honduras to help communities plant trees to protect water and soil resources. In 2008, TCP partnered with Sustainable Harvest International and SHI-Honduras to teach sustainable agriculture and forestry to address the twin issues of protecting tropical forests and alleviating poverty. In early 2015, the families in Santa Barbara supported by TCP completed the SHI field program, and in 2016, SHI-Honduras is moving its field program out of Santa Barbara to other parts of Honduras.
Wanting to continue its connection with these communities, TCP leaders searched for new set of partnerships. In mid-2015, TCP entered into partnerships with Groundswell International (the U.S. non-profit) and Vecinos Honduras (the Honduran non-profit).
Using the Vecinos Honduras community-organizing model, TCP will now address four issues:
Two differences in the Vecinos community-organizing approach — developing community leadership and peer-to-peer training — make it possible to expand our focus without losing the priority given to building sustainable agriculture practices that result in more nutritious diets and protect the environment.
Roy Lara is the founder of the Trinidad Conservation Project, and he continues his passionate commitment to the TCP vision as he works with Vecinos to expand their work in the department of Santa Bárbara.
What is most impressive about Roy Lara, to both those who travel to Honduras and those who meet him during his trips to the US, is his ability to connect with others. His professional training as an agronomist and his years of experience working with “campesinos” (rural people) is evident.
As he might say about himself, Roy has been called to what he is doing, which is to help alleviate rural poverty and, simultaneously, to take better care of the environment. Time after time, he can be seen working with whoever is in his presence, teaching people important skills and empowering them to go on to the next step. That includes visitors from the U.S. as well as the farmers in the communities.
For more than a few years, Roy had no transportation to get to his beloved mountain communities. He used to walk up and down mountains to get to there, where he spent several days, notwithstanding the aches and pains of rough mountain travel.
Roy’s commitments and engagements in the life of the rural poor and the health of the mountains have not been primarily motivated by concerns for a financial return. Rather, he does things because he is called to do them. And he has a deep faith in the probability that what he and his family need will become available.
He has become a beloved and inspirational member of our community here is Washington. We have been deeply moved by his humanity.
Roy has extensive experience with nursery creation, tree planting, and youth and adult environmental education. He is a licensed agronomy engineer and has completed work in permaculture, organic agriculture, and principles of sustainable agriculture. He graduated from the Autonomous National University of Honduras in 2002