Author of The Climate Diet
A story of community, soil, health and hope
When Sol Simple founder Will Burke first traveled to Nicaragua, he witnessed a country still healing from the wounds of the revolution in the ‘70s. After years of corporate conventional farming, the land needed healing, too. Will, a trained educator, believed that agriculture could alleviate the poverty he saw there, and started Sol Simple in 2007 with one goal: to help local growers and processors organize into a democratic farming cooperative that would sustain them as well as their land.
The company finds growers to work within Sol Simple’s organic program, helps them group into associations, and hosts workshops on the technical aspects of the organic farming trade. Once the growers are certified organic, Sol Simple arranges on-farm pickup of their mangoes, processes them using renewable solar energy—they have one of the largest hybrid solar-powered dehydrators in the region—and then ships the final product to market.
What does sustainable farming really mean? It means creating a model for future farming generations. It means promoting gender equity, supporting the community and regenerating the soil. Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Latin America, and Sol Simple works in marginalized communities, hiring single mothers and partnering with female farmers (almost a third of the farmers in their network are women.) They coordinate with local governments and schools so their employees and partners can learn new skills, and so their children can be educated—one of the best paths forward and out of poverty.
In Sol Simple’s workshops for growers, soil is the main focus: rebuilding organic matter, restoring biodiversity, drawing down carbon, improving water filtration cycles, and increasing yield. In just 12 years, the collective has become a leader in Regenerative Organic (RO) farming practices and is now working toward Regenerative Organic Certification. It’s a model for responsible business that we hope inspires others.
Other Stories You Might Like
Close the Loop with a Compost Pile
In the Northern Great Plains, all the seasons have their attractions, but there are possibilities for misery too.
A healthy pasture on the Northern Great Plains is home to 2,095 species of amphibians, reptiles, mammals, butterflies, birds, grasses, sedges, and wildflowers. Bison graze here.
A bold plan to kick net-pen salmon farms out for good.
On the Galician coast, a pioneering company adapts centuries-old traditions to a modern age.
A years-long quest to find the right chile
The hidden connections between the health of soil, plants and our gut.
We have a packaging problem. Here’s what we’re doing about it.
Regenerative organic agriculture includes any agricultural practice that increases soil organic matter from baseline levels over time, provides long-term economic stability for ...
You are what you eat. It’s a simple lesson most of us learned as children. And yet look where we are today.
Bren Smith's article talks about the power of restorative ocean farming and delicious food grown for both people and the planet.