Mar 12, 2021

Battling COVID in the Amazon but Making Progress

Map of Tumbira, Amazonas, Brasil
Map of Tumbira, Amazonas, Brasil

In the three months since INMED Brasil launched its GlobalGiving campaign to raise funds to implement INMED Aquaponics® in the Amazon, the COVID-19 pandemic has reached crisis proportions. The Brazilian Amazon has become a breeding ground for new and more deadly variants of the coronavirus. In the past month, the health system completely collapsed in Manaus, the capital of Amazonas state. Hospitals have exceeded capacity and are turning away new patients, people are dying in record numbers, and each day brings a new round of mass burials.

In the remote indigenous communities surrounding Manaus, the situation is even more bleak. With limited access to healthcare, sanitation, sources of income and fresh, nutritious food, entire families are being lost.

Although quarantines have prevented our team at INMED Brasil from visiting the Amazon, they have been working diligently with project partner Foundation for Amazon Sustainability (FAS) to keep our work moving forward. Here are some highlights:

  • The project site has been selected and approved in Tumbira, a remote slice of land in the Rio Negro River in the Amazon rainforest. FAS has worked in this community for many years, and it is an ideal location to implement INMED Aquaponics® to improve food security, climate change adaptation and income generating opportunities for local producers.
  • INMED Brasil is working with Rotary Brasil and Rotary International, among other partners, to raise funds to start building the project.
  • Brazilian and international influencers are interested in endorsing and promoting INMED Aquaponics® in the Amazon. Here’s one video by Brazilian actor and social media influencer Alex Slama: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMsI3XmWKTE

In the next few months, our aquaponics experts will finalize the system design and training curricula. All we need now are the funds to make it happen!

Our teams at INMED Brasil, FAS and the community of Tumbira are grateful for your support. Please share this project with your friends, colleagues and family. We need all hands on deck to turn the devastating tide of destruction in the Amazon.

(Special thanks to the Foundation for Amazon Sustainability for use of the photos.)

View of Tumbira from the river
View of Tumbira from the river
Dwellings in Tumbira
Dwellings in Tumbira
Boat shelters - no cars here
Boat shelters - no cars here
Boats are the only mode of transport to Tumbira
Boats are the only mode of transport to Tumbira
Overfishing has depleted the food supply
Overfishing has depleted the food supply

Links:

Jan 7, 2021

COVID hasn't deterred our progress in Jamaica

INMED's training systems are in 3 votech schools
INMED's training systems are in 3 votech schools

As INMED around the world has learned over decades, adaptation does not just apply to climate change. Program activities, approaches and response efforts must also adapt to meet ever changing conditions and needs within the communities where we work. The global COVID-19 pandemic has been a prime example of the need for adaptation and resiliency.

To continue fulfilling our mission of building pathways for vulnerable children, families and communities to achieve wellbeing and self-reliance, our team at INMED Caribbean had to rethink how to deliver adaptive agriculture training and development in a COVID-safe manner while also addressing the growing need for local food production and economic sustainability. The solution was to improve and expand our online course and add interactive virtual training, which has allowed us to engage more farmers and build capacity remotely. We also increased the number of virtual business coaching sessions for individuals and solidified partnerships with agricultural universities to establish demonstration systems and curricula to train the next generation of farmers.

New Starter Kit Rolled Out

In the last quarter of 2020, INMED Caribbean introduced a home starter kit for urban backyard farming and for traditional smallholder farmers seeking to start small to increase capacity and income streams. Inexpensive and modular, this simple and effective system is designed to be a gateway to larger commercial systems as farmers gain experience and confidence to further expand production. This will also allow us to reach risk- and credit-averse individuals who may not be ready or interested in financing large, commercial systems.

We are happy to report that aquaponics is increasingly accepted as a commercially viable technology for small- and medium-sized Jamaican farmers. More than 100 existing and potential agro-entrepreneurs have completed our online training course, with nearly 50 rural agricultural extension agents trained and providing ongoing technical support. Our community-based systems in the degraded watershed area of Clarendon are producing well, and our team continues to deliver business training to these burgeoning enterprises.

Value Chain Continues to Grow

In the coming months, we will continue to build our network of local buyers and schedule networking events for aquaponics producers. We are also engaging local input and service providers to source seeds, fish feed, etc. based on geographic location and supply needs to strengthen the whole value chain for maximum production success.

Our team at INMED Caribbean and the emerging aquaponics farmers your donation is supporting are grateful for your generosity. If you haven’t done so yet, please consider becoming a recurring donor to this important project. We’re looking forward to sharing our progress with you in 2021.

INMED is building a robust value chain for farmers
INMED is building a robust value chain for farmers
Community systems are strengthening food security
Community systems are strengthening food security

Attachments:
Dec 1, 2020

Seeds for Life Reaps Big Impacts So Far

Zandile now has food for her family
Zandile now has food for her family

INMED South Africa's Seeds for Life Project Reaps Big Impacts So Far

August 2020 – November 2020

 Just four months into this project, INMED South Africa has helped 519 people strengthen their food security by planting backyard gardens in Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg. Nearly 40% of the households served reported family members experiencing anxiety over not having enough to eat, especially during this time of global pandemic.

 Seeds for Life is a project on INMED South Africa’s Health in Action program, which teaches children about the importance of nutrition, physical activity and healthy lifestyles through engaging hands-on, skills-based activities. A key component of Health in Action is the development of school gardens, which are used as teaching tools as well as sources of fresh produce for school meals. INMED South Africa and its partners supply the materials for the gardens as well as training for school food handlers, teachers, administrators and community members. Seeds for Life is expanding this approach to distressed communities to strengthen food security and income generation opportunities.

 First Phase a Success

In this first project phase, each household received a free package of several varieties of seeds to plant a seasonally appropriate garden, along with hands-on training and informational pamphlets on how to properly start and maintain a garden—even in tight spaces. The ripple effects are already extending beyond just the project participants, as their crops are feeding neighbors in need and providing income for some entrepreneurial gardeners who are selling their crops to the community.

INMED’s master gardeners have been making regular visits to check on the participants’ progress and assist with advice where needed. Challenges experienced by a number of households included birds eating their seedlings, poor soil, scarcity of consistent water supply for the gardens and pests. In spite of these challenges, the home gardeners are succeeding and are very pleased to share how well their gardens are growing.

A Few Words from the Home Gardeners 

Zandile is a first-time gardener who is eager to learn and to provide a steady supply of food for her family. With INMED’s help, her gardening skills have improved dramatically, and she has harvested numerous large bundles of spinach, as well as bumper crops of tomatoes. Zandile says she is thankful for the gardening lessons and seeds, because now she can make something to eat without even thinking twice about how she will get the food. She also is enjoying cooking her food from stratch. 

Cecelia  lives with her granddaughter in an urban community of Port Elizabeth. She is 64 years old and has suffered a lot during the COVID pandemic. Ceceilia says INMED South Africa’s Seeds for Life project has helped improve her health. She eats greens from her garden every day, as well as turnips and other vegetables. She says that eating her vegetables raw helps to control her high blood pressure. She is very grateful for the gift of her own garden.

Mirriam lives in the urban township of Soweto in Johannesburg. She reported that within two months of receiving INMED’s free seeds, compost and training, she was harvesting crops two times a week. She sells vegetables from her garden for extra income, some of which she uses to buy ingredients to bake bread for neighbors in need as well as her church.

 INMED South Africa’s Seeds for Life project has inspired Lungelwa to pursue a new career in farming. With INMED’s free seeds and training, she has developed a stunning home garden, and she is passionate about her crops. “I am very grateful to INMED South Africa for providing me with seeds, because I did not have money to buy them” she says. “One day, I wish to be the supplier of commercial markets and have enough land to farm.”

Petrus’ Seeds for Life garden has been so prolific that it not only feeds his family but has become a source of income. He has been selling spinach, beetroot, carrots, turnips, tomatoes and onions to to his community of Motherwell in Port Elizabeth.                 

Lesidi is an elder pensioner in Zwide, Port Elizabeth, who struggles to stretch her fixed income to cover all her needs. She has long wanted to plant a garden, but didn’t have the money for seeds. With INMED’s free seeds and training, Lesidi’s garden not only provides fresh, nutritious food, but also a sense of purpose. She says she now spends a lot of her time in her garden, and it gives her great pride.

Sarah lives in Kwazakhele in port Elizabeth, where she struggles to make ends meet. She has long wanted to start a garden, but didn’t have enough money to buy seeds. With Seeds for Life, she has food security and potential source of income, as fresh produce is in short supply and prohibitively expensive for most families in this township.

 We thank all the generous donors who have supported this project so far. As you can see, it is already generating a positive domino effect in vulnerable communities. Our team at South Africa would like to expand this project to more households in 2021. If you are encouraged by what you’ve read in this report, please consider becoming a recurring donor and sharing this project with your family, friends and colleagues.

Ceceila says raw veg helps her blood pressure
Ceceila says raw veg helps her blood pressure
Mirriam sells her crops to help her neighbors
Mirriam sells her crops to help her neighbors
Lungelwa is inspired to become a farmer
Lungelwa is inspired to become a farmer
Petrus' garden is generating income
Petrus' garden is generating income
Lesidi's garden gives her a sense of purpose
Lesidi's garden gives her a sense of purpose
Sarah now has food security in Soweto
Sarah now has food security in Soweto

Links:

 
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