Agros International

ELM partner Skip Li, left, visits with a couple who live in the village that ELM sponsors, Agroaldea San José.
ELM partner Skip Li, right, looks at an irrigation tank in Agroaldea San José. ELM’s sponsorship enabled Agros to install a new pump that carries water to the tank.
While visiting, ELM attorneys have the chance to work alongside San José villagers. In this picture, ELM partner Nat Taylor helps haul peppers.
Keith Kemper, partner at ELM, tries his hand at organic fertilizing, one of many sustainable farming methods practiced at Agroaldea San José.
Agroaldea San José generates sustainable income by selling its produce. Here, ELM partner Daniel Ichinaga learns to weigh peppers for shipping.
ELM partners Skip Li and Lana Floyd pause to take in the beauty surrounding San José. In Nicaragua, much of the farmland is mountainous, volcanic terrain.
ELM attorneys, their families, and members of Agroaldea San José pack seedlings of a fungus-resistant breed of coffee into containers for shipping.
ELM attorneys, their families, and San José villagers pose for a picture after packing the seedlings of coffee plants into containers for shipping.
Children from a village near Agroaldea San José greet ELM attorneys and their families with a sign that reads “Bienvenidos” – “Welcome!”
ELM attorneys, seated at right, listen to a presentation given by the community of Tierra Nueva, a village near Agroaldea San José.

ELM sponsors a rural village in Matagalpa, Nicaragua by partnering with Agros International, a non-profit organization that helps families in Central America achieve economic self-sufficiency. A community of 26 families purchased land to form a village in 2007, using a loan from Agros. They named the village Agroaldea San José (the name agroaldea comes from the Spanish prefix agro-, meaning “agricultural” and aldea, which means “village”). Since 2012, ELM has supported agricultural and human development efforts that will enable the village to become self-sufficient.

One of these efforts was the construction of a new pump that carries water from a nearby river to a tank that sits at the high point of the village. The water tank provides irrigation for surrounding farms. This ensures the steady production of crops, which is the village’s primary source of income. Through efforts like these, the village will soon be able to pay off its loan and receive the title for its land, an important step in escaping poverty.

At ELM, attorneys build long-term relationships with their clients that yield long-term benefits. The same goes for ELM’s partnership with Agros in Central America. In addition to providing financial support to Agroaldea San José, the partners and associates of ELM, along with their families, make regular trips to Nicaragua to build relationships with members of the village. While there, ELM attorneys visit with and work alongside the community. They are continually inspired by the community’s indomitable spirit, yet sobered by the challenges it faces in exiting poverty. For the attorneys at ELM, each visit to Nicaragua is a reminder that life is more than a career; it is a calling to serve others.

Agros was founded by ELM partner Skip Li in 1984, when he helped rebuild a village in Guatemala following the country’s devastating civil war. Since then, Agros has helped more than 10,000 individuals find hope and opportunity. Agros villages are now thriving in Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Mexico.