St. Anthony’s Alliance is a charitable 501-c-3 organization founded in 1992 by James Tryon, MD and his wife, Teresa Balcomb, MD based in New Mexico. The organization, originally called “St. Anthony’s Pharmacy”, was established to provide pharmaceutical support in the Mostar region of Bosnia during the 1992 – 1996 war.
Since then, St. Anthony’s has successfully provided financial and technical assistance, including more than USD$500,000 of assistance to projects in Haiti, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Nigeria and Mexico. In 2006, St. Anthony’s Pharmacy officially changed its name to St. Anthony’s Alliance, Inc. reflecting its revised mission statement and expanded focus that includes economic development, and education as well as medicine and medical supplies.
Since 2006, St. Anthony’s has been actively supporting the development of projects in La Colorada, Mexico. St. Anthony’s has partnered the local community of La Colorada, in the Mexican state of Guanajuato to develop Azul Lavanda/The Lavender Project.
The original objective of the project was to find an alternative crop for farmers to develop instead of alfalfa & corn. The community identified a need for a project which would respect the agricultural history of the area and provide a new source of gainful employment for the people of La Colorada. For St. Anthony’s Alliance the ultimate aim is to reduce migration of men from the area and provide opportunities for the remaining community through the economic and community development of the area.
St. Anthony’s Alliance visited La Colorada in 2005 and spent some time researching opportunities to
develop and support this small community. In the spring of 2006, St. Anthony’s Alliance entered into a 5-year collaborative agreement with a group of 8 farmers whose irrigation pump had been broken for several years. St. Anthony’s funded the purchase of a new pump in exchange the farmers planted one hectare (about 2.2 acres) of lavender. Lavender was sourced and planted and this hardy plant has flourished in the tough agricultural conditions.
St. Anthony’s Alliance believes that the economic empowerment of women has a transformative effect on families and communities – adding value to Lavender crop was also identified as a way to create employment and generate additional income. With training and a small grant from St. Anthony’s Alliance one woman learned to make artisan soap from fresh lavender and other organic, local ingredients.
Just four years later the farm has grown exponentially to comprise 3 hectares of lavender plants, production capacity for soap and sewing products and a supported base for community initiatives. St. Anthony’s Alliance is proud to be a partner to The Lavender Project in its future development.
To find out more about St. Anthony’s Alliance and our current projects visit our website: www.stanthonysalliance.com.