PUENTE A LA SALUD COMUNITARIA

Planting Amaranth, Harvesting Food Sovereignty

aka Puente; Bridge to Community Health   |   Austin, TX   |  www.puentemexico.org

Mission

Puente a la Salud Comunitaria contributes to food sovereignty and to improving the health and economic well-being of rural communities in Mexico. (Updated Mission: 2020)

Ruling year info

2005

Executive Director

Sergio Beltran

Main address

1311-A E. 6th St

Austin, TX 78702 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

30-0258491

NTEE code info

Agricultural Programs (K20)

Community Health Systems (E21)

Nutrition Programs (K40)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Puente works with families in 35 rural communities in the Central Valleys and the Mixtec region of Oaxaca. The percentage of the population living in poverty in Oaxaca is 61.9% (CONAPO, 2020) with 23.3% categorized as living in extreme poverty and 38.8% lacks access to food (ENSANUT, 2012). The food landscape in the indigenous communities of Oaxaca adds to food insecurity, the double burden of malnutrition with 27% of Oaxacans suffering from food insecurity while we have also seen national obesity levels triple in the last two decades. Both issues are rooted in a lack of access to and informed consumption of sufficient, nutritious foods. The entry of these products into the communities, together with the use of agrochemicals that cause the disappearance of local edible herbs, the alienation of their own territory, the high rate of migration, and a disjointed education of cultural knowledge about care, health, land, and body, is causing the gradual loss of traditional eating habits.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Eco Amaranth & Agroecology

Objective: Farmer families will use agroecological practices to restore depleted soil, more efficiently and effectively manage water resources, and cultivate heartier, resistant crops while diversifying their income through the construction of local agroecological networks and the commercialization of their bio-inputs.
While our team continues to support amaranth farmers through every stage of their production cycle, we have expanded our focus to support the production and commercialization of bio-inputs which help to restore the soil and fortify crops while also providing a new income stream for farmers. This expanded work, paired with community campaigns, will promote agroecological practices for all the crops being grown in the region. The installation of water-capture systems at 12 regional biofactories along with water management training (at our farm-lab) will directly confront one of the greatest challenges facing farmers in Oaxaca.

Population(s) Served
Farmers
People of Latin American descent

Objective: Engage families to take ownership of their health by promoting home gardening and healthy meal planning through workshops and monthly bulletins for both adults and children. This interdisciplinary initiative works with the families that are part of our other programs as well as partnering with public schools, allied nonprofit organizations, and restaurants to ensure a broad impact. We also partner with a coalition of local organizations through Alliance for Food Health to promote healthy lifestyles through social media, traditional media, and even public transport campaigns.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Objective: Accompany microenterprises in expanding their market access beyond Puente-subsidized regional centers to local organic markets, restaurants, and consumer-to-consumer chains including an online store partnered with other local producers. This work will include nutritional analysis, product label improvement, and financial literacy coursework. We are also working to build alliances with other cooperatives to improve the quality of other ingredients in products including cacao, natural sweeteners, and local fruit. To strengthen the integration of healthy, sustainable food systems, the Social Economy team also works with farmer families to commercialize their bio-inputs and other agroecological crops for broader market access and an additional revenue stream for their families.

Population(s) Served
Adults
People of Latin American descent

As a laboratory for sustainable farming and living, Puente Rojas is a dynamic space that can demonstrate the accessibility and techniques of ecological practices in our everyday lives as well as in food production. The learning center will serve as a site for workshops in agroecological food production, water capture and management, cooking and nutrition, alternative energies, solar cooking and dehydration techniques, and community development. Puente Rojas allows us to expand our impact beyond our networks to serve partner organizations, school programs, and the general public. Our strategy requires that we build a balance between paid and subsidized learning opportunities to ensure accessibility while also helping us attain sustainability in the next 3-4 years.

Population(s) Served
Families
Families
Indigenous peoples
Farmers

Where we work

Accreditations

INDESOL Impact and Social Commitment Award 2015

Awards

Outstanding Community Partner Award 2010

Stanford University

Clarence Moore Award for Voluntary Service 2008

Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization

Impact and Social Commitment Award 2015

INDESOL

Premios Latinoamérica Verde 2018

Premios Latinoamérica Verde

Affiliations & memberships

Alianza por la Salud Comunitaria 2020

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of groups/individuals benefiting from tools/resources/education materials provided

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Indigenous peoples, Farmers, Families

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

communities

Number of financial literacy courses conducted

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Families

Related Program

Social & Solidarity Economies

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Puente proposes food sovereignty as a path towards sustainable solutions to economic poverty and the fractured social fabric caused by socio-economic, migratory, and environmental factors through the construction of an integrated system of agroecological production, economic solidarity, and the health and well-being of the community. We contribute to food sovereignty by providing technical and logistical support to farmer families in rural Oaxaca to promote the adoption of agroecological practices, promoting social economy through financial literacy and commercialization workshops, as well as supporting microenterprises in building market access and product development, and leading nutritional workshops across demographics to help counteract the impact of industrialized food and encourage a return to a traditional diet that embraces local, agroecological food.

While our underlying primary objective is always to contribute to food sovereignty, our current objectives for Puente as a “project” are to:
1. provide farmer families with the tools and knowledge they need to cultivate their crops agroecologically for the health and well-being of their families and communities,
2. collaboratively build new local and regional commercialization chains for microenterprises that connect them with other local producers that practice agroecology and solidarity economies,
3. promote a holistic approach to community health that prioritizes a return to traditional, whole-foods eating, exercise, and mindfulness, and
4. engage with a broader cross-section of the public as well as build our alliances with partner organizations through the learning opportunities at our farm-laboratory, Puente Rojas.

To promote commitment and sustainability, Puente supports and accompanies two regional networks. The Mixteca Amaranth Network has been operating for 7 years in the Mixteca Alta and the Central Valleys Amaranth Network was formed 8 years ago in the Etla Valley, both under the principles of community health, economic solidarity, and agroecological practices.. The networks are made up of farmers, groups of microbusinesses, and consumers, adding value and ownership through collective decision-making to every stage of the production, commercialization, and consumption cycle, and increasing local organization around healthy food systems. The networks have their own leadership committees that work directly with the Puente teams to develop projects for the production of amaranth and other crops, elaboration of agroecological inputs (organic fertilizers), and the organization of microenterprises for the commercialization of fresh produce, products made from amaranth and other crops, and inputs. We work together for self-organization and co-responsibility, ensuring the sustainability of our mission and impact.

Together, with the regional networks, we have identified obstacles to food sovereignty: the difficulty of cohesion in marginalized communities; the low profitability of the agroecological cultivation process due to land displacement, water scarcity and climate change; lack of access manuals for farmers on agroecological cultivation processes, and the lack of literacy on issues of development, business management, production costs, and commercialization chains.

To solve these problems, Puente raises, through the synergies between its different activities, integrated lines of action, which are aimed at not only building capacity and autonomy within our partner networks but also contributing to a better-informed consumer community for a sustainable and mutually-beneficial cycle of production, commercialization, and consumption.

The first line of action focuses on identifying and training on every stage of agroecological production, primarily of the amaranth grain, from seed selection and soil preparation through the entire cultivation process and up to the negotiation and sale of the harvest within solidarity networks.

The second line of action is aimed at promoting good practices for the collection and management of water to counteract the most damaging impact of the climate crisis in the Oaxaca region.

The third line of action is comprehensive training through participatory practices for microenterprises to understand how to analyze and develop products, from ingredient sourcing through building short commercialization chains as a network.

The fourth line of action is focused on training the general public on critical nutritional, environmental, and lifestyle issues to empower them to take ownership of their own health and their impact on the environment.

Puente has worked since 2003 to promote community health, evolving to incorporate agroecology and solidarity economies as core projects for a more holistic approach to food sovereignty. We work closely with key stakeholders to build long-term projects that ensure community buy-in. Our community promoter program trains local young adults to join our team, receiving a monthly stipend, and professional development. The end goal of our community promoter program is that the participants will use what they’ve learned from their participation to start their own projects in these same communities. We have seen this program bear fruit with several promoters opening their own agroecological businesses (general stores, biofertilizer production, infrastructure projects) as well as pursuing higher-level education in themes of community development and sustainable agriculture. Our current technicians were all trained as community promoters and selected from this program. As full-time staff members, they are key to realizing our training program with community promoters and carrying out our program activities, working with their own local community members.

Puente believes strongly in the importance of coalition building and strategic alliances. Our most important partnerships are with the two autonomous regional networks - Red de Amaranto Valles Centrales and Red de Amaranto Mixteca.

One of our principal partners is the amaranth company San Miguel de Proyectos Agropecuarios, with whom we jointly applied for and won the only nationwide prize for Human Development and Sustainability from Fundación PepsiCo, resulting in a four-year grant to continue our project adapting small-scale appropriate technology for amaranth production, microenterprise support, and community health initiatives in Oaxaca and Hidalgo.

In 2020, we were proud to be founding members of Alianza por la Salud Alimentaria (Alliance for Food Health) which successfully lobbied the Oaxacan congress to pass the first law in Mexico that prohibits the sale of soda or junk food to minors. We will continue working in this alliance to improve the enforcement of this law and to improve community understanding of the dangers of industrialized food consumption.

We are also founding members of Grupo Enlace de Amaranto México, an alliance of producers that work together to promote amaranth production and consumption. Our biggest achievement within this group was the inclusion of amaranth in the “canasta basica”, a selection of basic foods that are considered necessary for a healthy diet. We continue to work within the group to share technical resources and support new amaranth initiatives.

2003 — Our first program was Healthy Families, working with mothers, grandmothers, youth. and children to present amaranth as a valuable but affordable ingredient in family meals.
2007 — In 2007, Puente added amaranth cultivation and production as our second program. Growing the grain seemed to be the next natural step for Puente, partnering with farmers in the regions to add amaranth to their crop production.
2008 — Clarence H. Moore Award for Voluntary Service
2010 — Stanford Medical School Community Partner Award
2010 — Launch of first Amaranth Day, an annual festival that brings together all of the communities Puente works with in the city of Oaxaca for panel discussions, food tastings, workshops, interactive exhibits, live music, and cultural demonstrations, and a kids’ activity area.
2011 — The final piece of Puente’s fundamental programming was the Social Economy program, launched in 2011 when Puente developed his first strategic plan and realized that we needed a link between grain production and consumption by families in the community. Microenterprise groups buy the grain to make amaranth-based products that include popped cereal and granola, crackers, crackers, tortillas, tostadas, and flour, a gluten-free baking alternative
2015 — INDESOL Impact and Social Commitment Award
2016 — In 2016, as our partner farmers increasingly noticed the impact of climate change on their crops, especially the scarcity of rain in the Central Valleys, and when our tests revealed depleted soils and weakened plants, Puente and the networks collectively decided on the transition to 100% agroecological practices for a stronger, more nutritious plant with greater resistance to external factors.
2018 — Latinoamérica Verde Award
2020 — In 2020, we transitioned the “Healthy Families” program to be a cross-disciplinary initiative, “Health and Nutrition” that informs all of our programmatic work and our work with the Alianza por la Salud Alimentaria (Alliance for Food Health). With the Alianza por la Salud Alimentaria, we successfully lobbied for the revision of state law for the protection of children’s rights to include the prohibition of the sale of junk food and soda to minors.
2020 - Transition of our annual Amaranth Day celebration to a 2-day virtual festival with panel discussions, workshops, cooking classes, and live interviews with an impact of 3,500 unique participants in 7 countries.

Today, Puente works with 2 autonomous regional networks and 35 communities throughout the Oaxacan region. Our farm-laboratory at Puente Rojas offers a living model of sustainable living and agroecological food production in workshops and intensive trainings.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Puente works with families in 35 rural communities in the Central Valleys and the Mixtec region of Oaxaca. The percentage of the population living in poverty in Oaxaca is 61.9% (CONAPO, 2020) with 23.3% categorized as living in extreme poverty and 38.8% lacks access to food (ENSANUT, 2012). 51% of this population lives in rural areas and 29% of the population are indigenous people who are part of the 16 ethnic groups (Amuzgo, Chatino, Chinanteco, Chocotec, Cuicateco, Huave, Ixcatec, Mazateco, Mixe, Mixtec, Oaxaca Chontal, Popoluca, Tacuate, Trique, Zapotec, Zoque) that exist in Oaxaca. The food landscape in the indigenous communities of Oaxaca adds to food insecurity, the double burden of malnutrition with 27% of Oaxacans suffering from food insecurity while we have also seen national obes

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    SMS text surveys, Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    In 2020, our board, after surveys and conversations with community members and staff, chose to officially change our mission from a focus on the agroecological production and promotion of amaranth to a broader mission for food sovereignty as a path towards community health and well-being.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    8 years ago, Puente assisted in the establishment of 2 autonomous regional networks with whom we partner to initiate projects in the Central Valleys and Mixteca region. In both networks, Puente’s participation is as a guest at their bimonthly assemblies with no vote. Likewise, the leadership committees meet with the Puente regional team monthly to review progress, generate the agenda and prioritize collective actions. Puente advises and facilities on projects that have included the development of a volcanic rock pulverizer for mineral production (Central Valleys), the purchase of land to build a grain storage and processing facility (Mixteca), market and transportation access (both regions), and the development of 15 bio-factories throughout the regions for fertilizer production.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

Financials

PUENTE A LA SALUD COMUNITARIA
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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PUENTE A LA SALUD COMUNITARIA

Board of directors
as of 3/28/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Dr. Gabriel Garcia

Retired, Stanford University

Term: 2020 - 2022

Aerin Dunford

Coquixa Consultores

Jennifer Rogers-Brown

Long Island University, Post (LIU Post)

April Watson

Practice Transformation Initiative for the California Quality Collaborative

Katherine Lorenz

National Center for Family Philanthropy

Kate Seely

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 03/28/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/28/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.