Vegetable gardens in the Sierra Gorda

by Grupo Ecologico Sierra Gorda I.A.P
Vetted
In-class session with women
In-class session with women

We started the year training women in the subjects of soils, nutrition and the origins of today’s illnesses. Afterwards we taught climate change and its consequences, such as biodiversity loss and more frequent imbalances, and the mitigation of global warming, emphasizing how we can contribute to improving these alarming conditions. One mitigation strategy is to become a carbon producer, returning organic matter to the land, covering the soil and allowing soil microorganisms to flourish and carry out their role which is to provide food for plants.

To take a step beyond self sufficiency, an introduction to the Route of Flavour (network of small local restaurants that promote local, rural foods) was given to link women vegetable growers with the owners of the restaurants, so that they can offer rural, organic foods with all the essential nutrients that ensure human health as well as the planet’s. The aim of this is to emphasize local gastronomy and producers.

Finally, two workshops were organized for these women entrepreneurs, during which talks were given about healthy eating focussing on how nutrition can improve health in the case of illness, or ensure and perpetuate good health. These workshops were also attended by new women and men who are only recently establishing their vegetable gardens. They learned from the experiences of those who already have a garden, which were glad to share their knowledge. Other activities were: garden design; the making of compost, manure, fermented preparations and biofertilizers; and pest control without attacking the health of any living being, at very low cost and without wider repercussions.

We are very happy to report that during this year we increased the number of women who established backyard gardens to provide their families with healthy foods, without insecticides and at very low cost. We now have 130 gardens, 50 more than last year, this means people are interested and we hope this number keeps increasing in 2015.

Community workshops
Community workshops
Woman working in her vegetable garden
Woman working in her vegetable garden
Beneficiaries preparing their own bio-fertilizer
Beneficiaries preparing their own bio-fertilizer
Woman applying minerals to her soil
Woman applying minerals to her soil

Dear Donor,

It is an honour to share the announcement that our Director, Martha "Pati" Ruiz Corzo has been recognized today with the Wangari Maathai Prize by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests.  I am attaching the official press release for your information.

"Martha’s extraordinary commitment to preserving the biodiversity of her land and to lifting rural communities out of poverty makes her a deserving winner of the Wangari Maathai Award,” said Eduardo Rojas Briales, FAO Assistant Director-General, Forestry, and Chair of the CPF. “By recognizing the implications of asking subsistence farmers to plant trees on land they had previously used to eke out a living, and putting into place successful mechanisms to offset that lost income, Martha and her organization have established a solid model that can be replicated elsewhere.”

Best regards,

Thalia Davidoff (Communications Officer)

Links:


Attachments:
It
It's harvest time

The women of the Sierra Gorda who now have their own vegetable gardens thanks to your support are delighted to report they are harvesting a variety of organic vegetables.  The seed sowing and soil preparation techniques the women learnt during the initial training workshops have really paid off with delicious sweet tomatoes and glossy leaved Swiss chard being harvested on a daily basis. Many of the women are growing enough to feed their families healthily and some even produce extra to sell or exchange with neighbors and friends. The vegetable gardens are helping to bring families and communities together and the women’s success is encouraging other people to start their own vegetable gardens. The women are noticing the benefits of the bio-intensive techniques producing four times more than with the conventional technique.

They are enjoying the flavors, colors and textures of what they harvest, in addition to the health benefits. There has been evidence of health improvements amongst the families who suffer from diabetes, obesity, malnutrition and hypertension. Those who are over weight are losing weight and many are noticing they have more energy thanks to the nutritious organic produce they are now eating. We are hoping to see further health improvements including improved infant development as the project develops. 

The vegetable gardens are creating many benefits in communities that suffer from poverty, lack of employment opportunities and poor education and health care standards. Sadly many families eat a nutritiously poor diet filled with junk food and sugar loaded fizzy drinks. With your support we will provide regular meetings and training sessions for the women where they care share their experiences and learn more. We hope to hold workshops including healthy cooking and seed collection. The results are evidence in themselves that creating vegetable gardens in the Sierra Gorda has only positive results however we need your support to further develop the women’s skills and help other women start vegetable gardens in their communities. With seeds, tools and training these women are changing the way their communities eat, how their children grow and the health issues they suffer. Please help us continue with this project, which is making a permanent change to the well being of so many families in the Sierra Gorda.

Links:

Preparing a vegetable garden in Tonatico
Preparing a vegetable garden in Tonatico

We have been very busy establishing and monitoring all the organic vegetable gardens around the Sierra Gorda. There are many women participating enthusiastically and involving all the members of their family, including daughters and sons, and husbands, too.

In May, we organized a follow-up workshop with 84 women and men, who have recently established their own organic vegetable gardens, to talk about their results and experiences. After introductory sessions with the promoters, the participants have learnt how to use bio-intensive gardening techniques, including garden design, bed preparation, planting, transplanting, pruning and finally, how to get the most nutritious value from the produce. In addition, they shared their experiences in separating their rubbish, recycling and healthy eating (leaving behind tinned and prepared foods as well as excess salt, fat and sugary drinks).

It was an excellent meeting, full of motivation, happiness, questions and experiences. It was obvious that they now know how to differentiate between organic products and those that contain chemicals. All the participants now consume what they produce and sell part of the harvest. They have been experiencing forgotten flavors, for some, new ones, for others and discovering the marvels of cultivating a small piece of land, loving it and valuing its productivity. Finally, everyone shared their own produce and were willing to exchange products, seeds and results with their colleagues.

Training session on how to prepare bio-fertilizer
Training session on how to prepare bio-fertilizer
The startings of a vegetable garden in Potrerillos
The startings of a vegetable garden in Potrerillos
Installing a watering system
Installing a watering system
Workshop about soil culture, with Mario Pedraza
Workshop about soil culture, with Mario Pedraza
Visiting the vegetable garden in Tonatico ranch
Visiting the vegetable garden in Tonatico ranch
Delicious organic produce
Delicious organic produce

Links:

Women involved in project
Women involved in project

We have started training community women and designed their biointensive vegetable gardens. The participants are enthusiastic and have worked very hard. They have learnt about the soil and how it functions, water cycles, organic material, microorganisms and how to produce their own organic inputs, such as, biofertilizer and mineral teas to avoid imbalance in the plants. In addition, they learnt how to design their beds, the ideal cycles to plant according to the season and lunar cycles, how to prune, transplant and use compost. They also learnt about the importance of creating compost from their own household waste.

For the women involved in this project, it is very important for them to create their own vegetable garden because it is empowering and they feel that they are looking after their families more because they will produce their own organic vegetables, without pesticides, and at a low cost.

We will continue establishing more organic vegetable gardens and accompanying the women through the whole process, up until their first harvest.

Results in vegetable gardens
Results in vegetable gardens
Designing the beds
Designing the beds
Installing a watering system
Installing a watering system
Results in vegetable gardens 2
Results in vegetable gardens 2
 

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Organization Information

Grupo Ecologico Sierra Gorda I.A.P

Location: Jalpan de Serra, Queretaro - Mexico
Website: http:/​/​www.sierragorda.net
Project Leader:
Martha "Pati" Ruiz Corzo
Jalpan de Serra, Queretaro Mexico

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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