As with every community in the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has reached us here in the Sacred Valley. The Peruvian government has mandated a strict quarantine, curfew, and regional travel ban. We at the Andean Alliance have pivoted to the best of our abilities and continue working every day to plan and support the Andean communities in whatever way we can.
An unexpected impact of the quarantine has been a "reverse migration" from the cities to the communities. People who had left the communities in search of improved economic opportunities are gradually returning home, often on foot, to pass the quarantine in the relative security of these isolated agricultural communities. With more people to help on the farms, some farmers are cultivating land that they haven't used in years.
We have also seen a noticable increase in the "Ayni" culture that has been gradually diminishing for more than a decade. Ayni is an ancient practice involving a community-wide exchange of manual labor, especially during the maize harvest. While we can't visit the communities as we used to, we have been fortunate enough to participate in some of the maize harvest alongside our Ecohuella partners. Check out some of the photos from the Ayni's and the last few months!
Maize drying, later to be processed and de-grained
Jan 30, 2020
Capacity Building in the Sacred Valley!
By Luke Agness - Project Leader
Greenhouse Workshop in Pampacorral
Rainy season is upon us once again here in Calca. The valley is bathed in a variety of shades of green, casting a healthy and promising glow. The river is high and flowing fast, an ever calming presence.
Agriculturally, we at the AASD continue to build upon the work and support of previous years. In the past year, our agricultural technicians have held a variety of workshops both at the EcoHuella demonstration farm and in communities throughout the area. The workshops were especially successful in the areas of soil preparation and pest and plague prevention.
Additionally in 2019, we were able to construct more than 50 greenhouses all throughout the Sacred Valley. Strawberries and flowers are especially popular crops as they drive a higher price per pound than the more typically grown potatoes, making them efficient money-makers for the space they require.
2020 is already shaping up to be another successful year. In January, we hosted a group of students that studied the role of women in agriculture in the area. This summer we plan to follow up on that theme and offer our services to women in the region. Through the Farmer Field School and workshops in the area, we will focus on capacity building and education as tools for development.
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Strawberry Greenhouse in Qenqo
Nov 5, 2019
Official Launch of the Farmer Field School!
By Kat Gordon - Project Leader
Hello from Peru!
The rainy season is just beginning and the corn is growing tall and lush all over the Sacred Valley. Soon the hills will be fully green, reminding us of the abundance and life all around us in the mountains.
The last few months we've continued to develop the farmer field school, always hosting more and more groups. September and October were especially full of activity for AASD and Ecohuella farm.
We began a nearly completed wall around the farm, installed a well for more reliable water access and, most excititingly, we officially launched the Farmer Field School during a 3 day series of workshops. This included a biointensive workshop hosted by Juan Manuel from Ecopol in Mexico. We invited local producers, family greenhouse owners and also hosted atendees from agriculture organizations working around the Sacred Valley. It was a fun mix of learning, knowledge sharing, and enjoying the beautiful space.
While we've been carrying out workshops and activities during the development of the space over the past year, this marked the official launch as the classroom was finally completed and furnished. We also used the opportunity to showcase the impressive seed saving done on the farm.
In other news, we continue to host workshops at the farm and organize groups to work alongside the Ecohuella farm team. In fact this week we will be hosting nearly 20 gap year students from Education First at the farm!
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