Sustainability is a very important part of the philosophy of The Leadership Center. Not only do we strive to help make the institutional self-sustainable in a variety of ways, but we also desire our students to learn important practices and principles of sustainability so that they are able to successfully implement then in their home communities. If more Honduran communities practiced principles of self-sustainability, the lack of involvement and participation of the Honduran government may not be so debilitating.
Following are a few ways that The Leadership Center is working on sustainability:
The Leadership Center currently has approximately 15,000 coffee plants in the ground, and we expect to be near 20,000 by the end of 2016. The farm is managed by local Honduran employees, and is maintained in part by the students of The Leadership Center. After the coffee is harvested, dried, roasted, and bagged, it is sold to individuals and businesses in Honduras and The United States. One hundred percent of the profits are re-invested in the mission of the organization.
Vegetable and Fruit Production
The Leadership Center currently has approximately 30 permanent, raised garden beds. The students oversee and maintain this project by planting, caring for, and harvesting vegetables throughout all twelve months of the year. We focus primarily on growing vegetables that are expensive, have a short shelf-life, or are difficult to find in nearby farms and/or markets.
The Leadership Center raises chickens (for egg production and consumption), cows (for milk), and pigs (for meat). Our livestock is cared for by current students and volunteers.
There is an aquaponics system on campus that provides nutrient-rich water to a variety of vegetable gardens as well as providing fresh tilapia for our students and staff to consume. While many aquaponics systems are complicated and require a great deal of electricity, planning, and resources, we have created a simple system that primarily uses gravity and a single pump to circulate the water.
While recycling doesn’t necessarily help the institution to become more self-sustainable, it is an important part of the campus philosophy of being good stewards and caretakers of what we have. We gather all recyclable items and store them in a small recycling facility that was built on campus. Once per quarter, we organize all the materials and deliver them to Amor, Fe y Esperanza, who sells them and uses the funds to help street children obtain an elementary education. Through this process, we are teaching our students that even small things can make a significant impact on the lives of others. Over the past few years, we have helped numerous children obtain the necessary funds to remain in school.