Monday, May 23, 2016

Urban Horticulture Project - Super Cool!



Urban Horticulture Project
Caroline’s Promise – 2016

Many people in the Guatemalan communities where Caroline’s Promise partners are in desperate need of improved diets.  The primary staples of rice and corn tortillas provides more than enough
carbohydrates and when available beans provide some of the protein necessary. However the majority don't have enough fiber, vitamins, and other phytonutrients necessary to support growth, brain function, and disease resistance.  In developed countries health care recommendations typically encourage 3 to 5 servings of vegetables per day but 
for many of our Guatemalan friends 0 to 2 servings per week is common

We have observed that lack of awareness and high cost relative to income are the primary drivers of inadequate diets in Guatemala.  One of the manifestations of poor diet is that children are less able to concentrate and remember what they are taught at school.  This undermines the educational opportunities that we are striving to provide them with.







How can we help?
A core value at Caroline’s Promise is that we partner with people in need rather than give things that temporarily satisfy the needs.  So we have initiated a pilot program to help our Guatemala friends grow some of their own vegetables along with providing basic diet and nutrition education.  In early May 2016, with the help of PhD Agronomist, Dan Kidder, we introduced a handmade version of the self-watering planter to four groups of interested people in Guatemala City.  
This system for growing plants has been around for many years but it has mainly been used by hobbyists in developed countries to make vegetable and ornamental plant growing easier and more productive. 

Self-watering planters can be used to grow almost any vegetable crop in areas where planting in the ground is not possible.  They are particularly well suited to urban areas on rooftops, balconies, and other secure spaces around the home.  It is an excellent system for those with little or no gardening experience because once planted all the grower needs to do is add a few cups of water to the reservoir every few days.  Nutrient and water concentrations in the plant root zone are automatically maintained at optimum levels.  Very little fertilizer and water are required in this system because there are no weeds, evaporation, or leaching to account for.


The Guatemalan adults and students who received the training in early May were extremely excited and enthusiastic but unfortunately, there were not enough planters available for everyone to take one home.  

Our vision is to help many more Guatemalans who are involved in Caroline’s Promise supported ministries to be able to tend and harvest at least 2 self-watering planters.  Two planters will typically supply this individual with 20 to 40 tomatoes and 10 to 20 bell peppers yearly.   And many other similarly producing vegetable choices are possible.

Will you partner with us? 
$25 will provide a 2 bucket system to one of our Guatemalan friends.  We are hoping to provide buckets to 50 people this summer.  To partner with us please donate here.   

And take a look at how the veggies that were planted in May are growing!