Vegetable seeds provided by SPI are growing fresh organic vegetables for widows and families with no resources in great need of nutrition and income. Guatemalan Ixil Maya children suffer an 85% malnutrition rate. This funding provides start-up kits of worms and materials for Maya Ixil women farmers in Chajul, Guatemala, to create worm farms. The women will grow worms and produce compost tea for 30 vegetable gardens, reducing the need for fertilizer by 50%, and creating 8 microenterprises.
Today, Ixil farmers are organized into a coffee-producers organization and are working toward income improvement, but this does not address the lack of nutritious food for widows and their children. Kitchen gardens are important to the survival of the family. Deep poverty has left no resources available for fertilizers for vegetable gardens. Seriously depleted soil results in poor vegetable crops. Deforestation precludes the use of wood to build compost bins.
4 Ixil women farmers will be provided with worm farm starter kits of worms, compost bins and materials. Four elders will also be supported in starting a microenterprise using traditional Ixil basketry to weave the compost bins and transport containers. Each worm farm will provide worms and compost tea to 7 vegetable gardens receiving support from SPI, plus worms and compost tea for their own kitchen garden. This will boost garden yields while launching and supporting 8 new small businesses.
Worms are a long-term, renewable investment for kitchen gardens' soil improvement. Worm farms will continue to produce worms and organic compost tea which can be sold as a microenterprise. Widows, families with no resources, their children and youth helpers will learn traditional Mayan farming and new methods in composting and soil improvement. Seed banks will ensure long term sustainability, support a strong education program, economic development, and increased food security