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Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat (SJES)


I remember driving with local community leaders into northern Nicaragua’s mountains to meet with organized farmers as we continued a long-term relationship that sought to explain and construct strategic responses to drought and an El Niño event in 2016. The Famine Early Warning Systems Network warned that this area, and much of Central America, was experiencing a stage three food crisis characterized by severe food insecurity coping responses, such as skipping meals and selling assets. Yet here we found farmers that had organized themselves into a cooperative and invested not only in organic coffee for export, but also in corn and beans for their own consumption and local markets. Although some of these farmers still reported several months of low-level food insecurity, conditions were buffered by their diversified farming practices and a community-based seed and grain bank. The recently upgraded village water system provided access to drinking water from mountain streams. In times of hunger and thirst, the farmers told us how they recently packed up their mules with several thousand pounds of corn and brought them to a neighboring community where they knew others were suffering more. They remembered how these neighbors once sheltered and fed them when they fled their land after it was attacked during the wars of the 1980s. The practical hope in diversified farming and solidarity are matched by global challenges to secure rights to food and water.


Promotio Iustitiae (PJ) is published by the Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat (SJES) at the General Curia of the Society of Jesus (Rome) in English, French, Italian and Spanish. PJ is available electronically at



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