My bags are mostly packed; I'm just up here at headquarters to wrap up a few things and set my out-of-office messages. Tomorrow I leave for a 10-day trip to Peru and Ecuador with CEO Pierre Ferrari, our new Chief Financial Officer Bob Bloom, Vice President of Americas Oscar Casteneda, and freelance photographer Dave Anderson. Save for a day trip somewhere in Mexico when I lived in Phoenix as a child, I've never been south of the United States. Needless to say, I'm pretty excited.
In addition to meeting our in-country staff and learning more about how they do their important work, we'll be visiting a number of projects (that's always the most exciting part, of course). In Peru, we'll be in the highlands, witnessing how we are improving the quality of local alpacas and increasing the diversity of diets with 4,333 families. We'll also visit a project promoting agroecology and local Andean markets, which benefits 5,000 families. (I've been told to pack sturdy, waterproof shoes--it's misty there.)
In southern Ecuador we'll see how farmers have implemented agroecology on the land they've often struggled to hold on to. We'll meet with regional associations and national federations and learn how our partnerships are helping farmers improve their livelihoods and how we can make policy changes at the national level.
Look for posts here on the blog, and watch for my tweets as ^BE on @Heifer.