URBAN FARMING PROJECT: improving nutrition one home at a time!
Here in Guatemala City we find lots of children living with malnutrition, too. While the weight and height of our program kids are usually better than rural indigenous children, they still lag behind acceptable percentiles. Other health and cognitive issues related to malnutrition remain common, even in the capital city. In our neighborhoods, poverty is the direct cause. More parents are finding themselves out of work every week. Vegetables and fruits are available in the markets, but prices are rising. So tough choices are to be made. When it comes to food choices, the sad truth is that salads and vegetables may be healthier, but they don't make the children feel full.
That's where we come in. We are inviting our neighbors to take part in our URBAN FARMING PROJECT. We visit interested parties and examine their home and property. Using items found all around the city like tires, cinder blocks, wood crates and plastic bottles, we can design fruit and vegetable gardens that hang from window sills, can handle their rooftop, can be tiered along a fence or more.
Once we come up with a plan, we explain to the family what they need to do. This may include obtaining wood, crates or bottles; creating shelves from cinder block and wood we find at their home; strengthening a roof location or fence to support hanging plants, etc. But each family will make the effort to set up their own growing areas.
When all is ready, our organization will return with organic soil to fill the planters and a selection of seeds. We will help them make a watering can from a regular soda bottle and get them started on their new garden. Since we live in the "Land of Eternal Spring", our goal is to keep the gardens productive all year round. Therefore, we will continue to monitor the gardens and offer advice on how to rotate items and maximize the yield for each family.
"GUATEMALAN PEOPLE ARE GENERALLY SHORT IN STATURE. GENETICS? I'M AFRAID NOT." -anonymous missionary doctor speaking about malnutrition.
Malnutrition is a major problem throughout Guatemala. Despite the fact that the majority of Guatemalan babies are born within the normal range of birth weights, an overwhelming number will wallow in the lowest percentiles of child development by the time they are a few years old. Depending on what study you read, the chronic malnutrition rate of Guatemalan school-aged children ranges from 45 to 70 percent.
There are many reasons for this, including smoke in households, digestive system infections, food insecurity and such. There are many major programs under way in the rural highlands to improve the situation.
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ABOUT OUR ORGANIC SOIL.... Our soil is purchased from local nurseries. It is all organic and native to the region. In the near future, we hope to purchase soil produced by our neighbors through mulching projects started through this same program in Comalapa and Villa Nueva. About $20 covers the cost of soil, seeds and a small gift like a hand cultivator for a typical garden. Click the button above to support a garden for a needy family.