Finding Balance Between People, Food and Forests

Our Mission:

Maya Nut Institute is a nonprofit 501(c)3 public charity founded in 2001. While our mission remains the same, we changed our name from The Equilibrium Fund to The Maya Nut Institute in 2010. Our mission is to “find balance between people, food and forests” by teaching rural communities about the value of Maya Nut for food, fodder, ecosystem services and income. Maya Nut is also referred to as Nuez Ramon and Semilla de Ramon.

WE’VE BEEN SUCCESSFUL …

  • Guatemalans have formed four national organizations:  CODEMUR (Commitee for Rural Women’s Development), AMUL (Asociacion Muralla de Leon), ADEMIX (Asociacion de Mujeres de Ixlu) and Ramon Femenino. These groups produce and sell Maya Nut locally and internationally. They make all their own decisions about their work.
  • El Salvadoran women have formed several microenterprises. PrOjushte, MannaOjushte and El Ojushte are all rural women’s Maya Nut enterprises. They make all their own decisions about their work. They sell all their products locally.
  • In Nicaragua there are currently 3 women’s Maya Nut enterprises in Nicaragua, Flor de Ojoche, Ojoche Producers of San Pedro and Ojoche Cooperative of Versailles. They make all their own decisions about their work and market all their products locally. In some cases, Nicaraguan women producers have increased their annual income by up to 24%.
  • Honduran producers have formed an independent producer group in the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve and two of our former staff have formed a business, Nuez Maya, Honduras. They distribute Maya Nut produced by rural producers, who often have trouble accessing market opportunities and also provide consulting services for institutions seeking to incorporate Maya Nut into their programming.

WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT

Since we started work in 2001, more than 600 rural and indigenous women have formed 25 different autonomous businesses to produce and market Maya Nut products and to teach workshops to other women.

Women are the primary beneficiaries of our programs. We work with women because they are a critical link between the family and the environment, and because they are responsible for the health of the family. We have found that healthy families are better able to care for the environment because they can make sound decisions based on logic, rather than desperate decisions based on immediate need for food, medicine or school materials.