SamuelGarciagoatbookarticle by Mary T. Walker

Local R. G. V. citizen Samuel Garcia authored a bestselling book How Goats can Fight Poverty: Complex Problems do not Always Need Complex Solutions. Actually, Garcia was almost as surprised as he was thrilled to find that within 12 hours of his book release, it was a Best Seller. Describing Garcia’s hopes to help this community in his book, and after the book became such a hit, he gave an interview to the Monitor in January. Continuing the buzz, Garcia wrote a summary of his book himself for the Rio Grande Guardian. The interview he granted this magazine is an update on the initiative Garcia’s book describes.

Raised here in the Rio Grande Valley, Garcia credits much of his success to the RGV where he earned his grade school education. As he studies now in the Business Honors program at the University of Texas Austin and makes plans to go to law school, he found the RGV mentioned in Time magazine. Specifically, the area around Garcia’s home, the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission region was listed as the poorest region in the nation—the most people below the poverty line! Garcia recalled the all-too-common colonias of the RGV…

What Samuel Garcia did in response to such a dire report, was use his business savvy and compassion for the people of his home in a gallant initiative to place power back in the hands of the people who had fallen into an underprivileged status. Garcia detailed this endeavor in his best-selling book. He launched a business plan to improve the destitute circumstances of families by starting the Sustainable Dairy Goat Initiative student-run organization that has gained 50 sponsors! Sponsors come from the organization’s different chapters at: UT-Austin, Texas A&M University, Texas State University, and Texas Christian University.

Partnering together with La Union del Pueblo Unido Entero (LUPE) of Hidalgo County whose members are mainly impoverished immigrant farmers, Garcia launched his initiative. Families from LUPE were selected who lived on half-acres of land where they could raise goats that they were given. The goats are for raising, milking, breeding, and selling the resulting dairy products.

The families who received goats formed a Union where they have weekly meetings to teach each other things like how to make cheese and help each other out.  This was the development of a community that Garcia was hoping they would gain as they raise their goats and each other out of economic paucity.

Garcia’s ultimate goal is to provide goats to about 40 families from the Valley and help them build a community of goat-herders that can share knowledge and split large costs. This initiative is akin to an effort by One, a worldwide organization seeking the betterment of people when they joined Heifer International who uses donations to purchase farm animals –yes, mainly goats! These animals are given to needy families who are shown how to use them to make money creating an upswing out of poverty. Right now Garcia 's Sustainable Dairy Goat Initiative with sponsors, have  purchased 6 goats for 2 families for a trial. At this point in the process the objective if the trial continues to go well, is to gain 15 more goats for more families by this December.

Garcia at the end of this interview offered a commentary rather relevant to the current political rhetoric despising immigration, “The seller of products  made from the goat milk lives a little better…maybe their children go to college….and the whole community is better. Schools here may not have the highest reputation, maybe some look down on the high schools and the education here and life here, maybe because of the immigrants. But this gives street smarts with our education. This is not an obstacle; it is a strength. I credit my success to the RGV & fully embrace my heritage that stemmed from immigration. Over the last almost what three hundred years…well, we all come from people who immigrated.”

 RGV Information magazine took the initiative to contact Heifer International and inform them about Garcia’s exceptional efforts doing what they do on an international level at a local level RIGHT HERE. Samuel Garcia was informed about the organization, too, in case he wants to expand his organization’s efforts. Garcia was pleased to find out that Heifer Int’l existed and that, well, compassionate minds think alike. If you would like to get involved in a similar effort, the Heifer International’s website is http://www.heifer.org/ and you can keep up to date with Garcia’s project by liking the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/How-Goats-Can-Fight-Poverty/875743332519818?fref=ts