HI Mexico Spotlight: Ariszandy Calderon Diaz

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In the midst of the Himalayan Institute Mexico’s major humanitarian initiatives, the remarkable stories of those responsible often go unreported. This section of the blog seeks to showcase the diverse range of backgrounds, talents, obstacles, and triumphs represented in our local staff and contacts.

Ariszandy Calderon Diaz, known to friends as Sandy, is HI Mexico’s Energy Farming Program Leader and is the face of HI Mexico for the people of the Sierra Norte. Sandy is in charge of community outreach and conducts workshops and training programs in sustainable agriculture practices for local farmers.

Showing off the first few in a crop of heirloom tomatoes grown in the greenhouse.

Relaxing with his family.

A native of Jonotla, where HI Mexico is located, Sandy chose to attend the local university to study agronomy and is now raising his own son, Carlitos, here with his wife Ana.  Sandy says, “The inspiration to pursue agronomy comes from being the son of farmers. Since I was a child, my parents taught me to work with the land with respect and harmony for nature. This knowledge is cultural and is transmitted from generation to generation.” His goal in working for the Institute is to transmit his knowledge to others. “I feel proud that these farmers or students who have participated in our training course go on to practice on their own land and in their communities. The best part of my work with the Institute is working in the field.”

Sandy congratulates a student who completed the one-month intensive agriculture training.

One of Sandy’s strongest assets is his forward thinking attitude and drive to continuously grow. From his first meeting with us at his job interview, he has been challenging the organization and educating us about ways we can do things better and how to most effectively integrate with the local farmers and conditions. Many of these ideas, with Sandy at the helm, have been put into action and have helped to make HI Mexico a recognized and respected organization in the area.

Prior to joining HI Mexico, Sandy worked for a different NGO that shared the same mission of working with farming families, so he brings both technical training and field experience to the job.

Most recently, Sandy has forged a professional relationship with a local branch of ChildFund International whose work in Mexico focuses on food security and supporting mothers to raise healthy children. Sandy has taught multiple workshops for the group, training their trainers so that they can better serve families in need. Sandy is also developing a similar workshop series, on such topics as raised bed gardening, companion planting and seed saving, for the benefit of families in Jonotla.

In addition to his teaching and outreach responsibilities, Sandy is in charge of maintaining the Demonstration Farm, caring for plants in the nursery, and selling organic fertilizer and plants to support the center.

General Manager Geovanni Beristain praises Ariszandy’s dedication, saying, “Sandy is a great friend and is very passionate about his town and his people. He’s a person who’s always interested in helping his own people and he is always trying to reach more. As a friend, you can rely on him.”

Sandy’s final thoughts reveal the hospitality and graciousness which make him such a successful program leader: “To all people who see this blog, I invite you to visit us at HI Mexico in Jonotla, which is a very warm and friendly place.”

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