On-Site Report from Popayan, Colombia

Below is the latest letter we received from Dr. Alfonso Tenorio, who was responsible for getting us to conduct a training project in Colombia from November, 2007 to March, 2008. His statements sound almost like “puffing”, but he has worked for 11 years trying to help the people of his community improve their health and self-sufficiency through family food production – without success, so he knows whereof he speaks.

“Dear Elder and Sister Kennard: Thank you for your support. I will give the (graduation) certificates in a special activity.

In the party and elegant lunch for 32 graduates, our students shared their testimonies about the project and its impact on them. I know with strong confidence that IT IS OUR SOLUTION. The impact of the global food crisis will be terrible for countries like ours, and we know that a very important opportunity will be this kind of project in small (family garden) size. The Minister of Agriculture in Colombia told us that this kind of projects should be pushed.

Elder, the capability to produce food with this method is incredible, incredible! You know that I have had “success” with the conventional methods, but with this method I now know real success. You have to see my garden… I have a lot of red beans (frijol cargamanto) that you planted in my garden, do you remenber? A lot! A lot of swiss chard in only 4 meters – only 4 meters!

My storage capacity is not enough for such an amount of foods. My spinach is perfect, my potatoes produced a lot, not big (harvested early), but a lot and delicious. My beans, my radishes, and my carrots are all excellent. But my cabbages are giant, giant! They are ready to win a contest.

We have a lot of rain, a lot (almost every day), however your tomatoes under the partial plastic solution are good, very good. The agronomists can hardly believe what they see, because it isn’t a complete greenhouse, only a small roof (traditional practice is to grow tomatoes only in greenhouses, because of the almost daily rains during much of the year).

Tata’s garden is beautiful, and you will not believe me if I tell you that she is the new provider of lettuce and cauliflower for the most important restaurant in the city (from a small backyard garden). Yes, that’s incredible.

The Dean and the professors of the (University Agriculture) faculty are happy and they want to expand the project. This new semester we will have several groups of students from the university working with us using this method.

In 15 days we will begin projects in 5 colleges of the city. In one week we will begin the new (training) course with 30 more members. The gardens of Elizabeth, Family Quina, and Gabriel are beautiful. (Probably those are the ones he’s seen. Other gardens were also doing great at last report)

Thank you Elder and Sister, thanks a lot for your support. Don’t forget the words of Gabriel and Elizabeth “we know that this project will be the remedy of our poverty”. I know it will!

Best regards,

Dr. Alfonso Tenorio”

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