This morning our team had the privilege of visiting the gardens and greenhouses of some of the mothers that FH works with. Our team was divided into two groups and each went to a different neighborhood.
The neighborhood that my team (Tom, Steve, Dana, Ashley, Ellisa, and myself) visited has been working with the FH staff for just over a year to build their green houses. Many of the greenhouses we saw were just started in December and are already producing vegetables that the women are harvesting!
We learned that the families have to build the main structure, windows and door for the greenhouse and then FH provides the materials for the roof and the tank and gutter system to collect rainwater. Having the greenhouse allows the families to have vegetables year round. They also save money because they don’t have to go to the market to buy vegetables. Some of the families have large enough greenhouses that they can sell some of their produce to make a little money. The neighborhood my group was in has hopes of building a large community greenhouse that they can sell the produce from to make the money needed to maintain it and their family greenhouses.
All the vegetables that the women grow are organic. They use garlic and onion water to prepare the soil and that keeps the plants protected from insects and fertilize the soil with dried manure. Among the vegetables we saw growing were tomatoes, beats, lettuce, cabbage, carrots, green beans, peppers, and many more.
As we were visiting each garden it was very apparent how proud these women are of their greenhouses and gardens: and they should be! These gardens are amazing and the women work hard to create and maintain them. I was glad that we were able to see the work they do and tell them how wonderful their work is.
During our visit we attracted a small group of children who very quickly got past being shy around us! We had a lot of fun playing with them. A few of our group were racing them up and down the road even!
At the end of our visit we were invited into the yard of one of the homes and given a delicious veggie patty made from vegetables grown in the greenhouses! It was so kind and generous of the families to share their food with us and I am truly grateful to them.
From talking with the second group it sounds like the neighborhood they visited was just starting to put in greenhouses and they were able to help plant tomatoes in one of the gardens.
Overall visiting the gardens was a wonderful and very educational experience. This was a perfect picture of the work FH is doing in Lajastambo to create a sustainable system of nutrition.