In 1979, at the peak of Plenty’s integrated village development program in Guatemala, we bought 3,200 sq. meters of land (.8 acre) in the village of San Bartolo in the central highlands. With the help of local Mayan volunteers, a soy dairy was built on that land. In February of 1980, the dairy was open and running. It is still going and producing tempeh, tofu, soy flour, soymilk, and soy ice cream, which are sold in nearby markets and in Guatemala City.
When the land was bought, Alan Praskin, one of our agriculture technicians, signed the papers. On March 7, at the invitation of the village, Alan returned to Guatemala to sign title to the land over to the community of San Bartolo. The community of San Bartolo and the managers and the staff of the soy dairy are Cakchiquel Mayas.
At the signing ceremony, Alan presented a plaque to the community from Plenty. The plaque read (in Spanish):
On this day, March 7, 1991, the Board of Directors, staff and members of Plenty, with great joy and lasting friendship, do hereby transfer title of the land which has been held in trust by Plenty on behalf of the people of this community to the people of San Bartolo. We, of Plenty, hold a deep and special regard for you, for this place and this project. We wish to express our gratitude to all of you who have labored so faithfully and diligently to continue this work these many years for the good of all of the people of San Bartolo and especially your children. May the future bring much success and the blessings of God to every one of you. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you.