The smell of fresh cucumbers and the taste of vine-ripened tomatoes bring back nostalgic memories of when organic food was the norm. Now, because of the high global demand for fruits and vegetables, many farmers have turned to the use of industrial techniques that often produce mass quantities, yet less flavorful produce.
Evgeniya is an active and goal-oriented farmer who doesn’t use any of these techniques - she produces organic products instead. She lives with her husband Vasily, who works as the chief engineer at a collective farm, and her son Shasha, who works as an agronomist in Ukraine.
After deciding to get involved in farming in the ’90s, Evgeniya leased 12 hectares of land. The land has a processing facility where they can make oil from thistle, pumpkins and flax. Once the final product is ready, she sells these goods in a nearby market.
Evgeniya participates in farming discussion groups through an organization that helps women farmers with farming solutions and ideas called "The Union of Women-Farmers." Through this group, she learned how to grow grapes and strawberries. Even though Evgeniya now had the knowledge, she still needed the capital to buy the equipment required to start farming these new crops.
Evgeniya raised a loan of $1,400 through Kiva and Kiva's Field Partner, Agro Capital Management (ACM). This loan has helped her to buy new equipment for the farm. It has also opened a door for Evgeniya to participate in a community of women farmers, who can empower each other through events and shared experiences.
Despite her hard work and tireless labor, the crop ultimately failed. However, Evgeniya hasn’t let this setback discourage her from pursuing her passion. She has since paid the loan back. Evgeniya plans to keep chasing her dream of farming grapes and strawberries, as well as opening up a shop for organic products.
"I have a dream to open a shop where all the women farmers in the area can sell their organic products. It would be great if people would know that if you come here, you can get organic [products]."
It is difficult for small and medium-sized farmers in Ukraine to get financial support, which is why they need your help!
Click here to support borrows like Evgeniya in eastern Europe.