Latest Humanitarian Project Results – Popayan, Colombia 2008

Recap of Project Accomplishments to-date after 4 months

This is a two-year project designed to help 100 families gain a measure of self-sufficiency in their food production. Also, after they are trained participants are expected to teach and assist other members and neighbors in growing gardens.

A greenhouse and model garden were installed at the Agriculture campus of the local University. 30 participant leaders committed to devoting between 12 and 20 hours per week for 12 weeks, to learn scientific food production and grow their own gardens.

Two-hour classes were held 3 days per week, and students worked in the greenhouse and garden an additional 2 to 5 hours per day. Separate concentrated classes were also taught to a group of University Professors and to a group of State Agronomists.

The greenhouse produces 20,000 seedlings every 6-8 weeks. This is sufficient to provide seedlings for the model garden and 100 families, with excess to sell or give away.

The Model garden produces many tons of vegetables each month. Most produce is donated and is used to improve the lives of the poor throughout the community.

In the first 3 months most participant leaders created productive gardens that are the best their communities have ever seen, and are selling and sharing excess garden produce, as well as teaching and assisting their neighbors in their gardens.

A great amount of favorable publicity has been generated for the project. Both the Mayor and the Governor are highly complementary, and both are requesting extensions of the project to teach and train other school and community groups. The Governor even requested project students create a garden on his own property, and he takes great pleasure as he watches its progress from his bedroom window each morning.

Several leaders have been hired to reproduce the project garden and training in 5 local high schools, and the State Agriculture Department have contracted with the project leaders to train graduating college agronomy students, who will then be hired to teach and demonstrate these methods in their assigned communities.

Project leaders are also taking seriously their responsibility to train and assist the other participant families, and many additional participants are now growing successful and productive gardens for the first time.

Pictures of the Project Model garden, as well as a few Student gardens can be seen at MittleiderMethodGardening@yahoo.groups.com – a free group where thousands of families learn about and share their gardening experience.

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