Since 2010, the home has worked hard to stay free of chemical pesticides and produce its own compost. We gather dry grass, scraps of fruits and vegetables, and the dung of livestock raised onsite at the home to compost organic waste into fertilizer.
As a home, we have always focused on the inclusion of children in this work. Including and educating them in our farming process will teach them skills that could someday help in future careers. On our farm, children have the opportunity to learn the techniques of sowing seeds, raising animals, harvesting, and experiencing the day-to-day aspects of running a farm.
A great example of a young man who has gained valuable skills on the farm is Wilfrido who is affectionately called ‘Antonio’ by his friends and NPH family. Antonio is a young man who lives in our home and is passionate about agriculture—so much so that he is preparing to study agronomy when he begins his university studies in fall 2019.
Antonio arrived at NPH Dominican Republic in 2004 when he was five years old. His parents at the time did not have the resources to support him or his three brothers, of which Antonio is the second oldest.
He finished his high school studies in June 2018 and immediately began his year of service on the farm, where his skills have quickly grown in the past eight months. The farm currently counts him as one of their best workers and his fellow employees describe him as dedicated, responsible, and passionate about what he does. He carries out various jobs in the agricultural department, including working with pigs and tending to the many different types of fruits and vegetables.
One of the things he likes most in his work is seeing how plants and animals grow. He explains, “I like process of tending. I feel good about myself when I see that I’ve reached my goals.”
Like any young man his age, he recognizes that he is not always super motivated to show up for another day of work, but once he arrives at the farm, he pushes himself to remain committed and he enjoys the experience of working on things that he is passionate about.
Here at our home everything that is raised on the farm (including our pigs and sheep) is consumed onsite. Antonio tells us that he really likes food. (He can be seen sprinting from his work post to the lunchroom at noon every day.) But now, he has a deeper appreciate for his meals, knowing that part of what is on his plate is the product of his hard work.
NPH Dominican Republic takes providing children with a complete and nutritious diet seriously. The general menu is designed around a balanced diet that includes protein, carbohydrates, and vegetables. In the cases of children with special needs, food is prepared according to their specific dietary needs.
Every day we work hard to improve our farm, to increase the self-sufficiency and overall sustainability of our home, and to include our young adults in the process whenever possible and educational. Working on the farm helps our kids grow up healthy and strong and teaches interested children valuable skills that they can take into jobs as contributing adults in their future communities.