In El Salvador, farming is taking root against all odds, thanks to Marta Benavides. 

Marta heads up a project that is helping turn war-scorched land into fertile fields. Can simple farming techniques be the answer to resurrecting the land from the scorched earth policies of El Salvador’s civil war?  Marta is convinced that they are... and sets out to prove it.


Her training program assembles representatives from rural communities and teaches them how to live off the land without destroying it. They learn terracing techniques that help prevent erosion.   Marta’s students also learn to plant trees, eat healthier and use home-remedies from the teachings of Guadelupe, an indigenous woman who works with Marta. They are also learning about natural pesticides that are less expensive and non-damaging to the environment.


Photojournalist and filmmaker Barbara Pyle talks to two of Marta’s students, Berta, a young widow and her son, Jose.  They were left without any financial means when Jose’s father committed suicide.  Now, they have the skills needed to help rebuild their lives and their community. Marta believes “nobody has to empower us,  but ourselves.”




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