Food Security Project: Greenhouses and Garden Beds

It is known that human populations living at altitudes above 3000 meters suffer from a deficiency of vitamin A and other minerals. This can be attributed to lack of custom, access to and understanding of the importance of eating dark leafy greens and vegetables rich in beta – carotene (yellow, orange and red colored). The staple crops of an Andean diet consists of corn, potatoes, tubers and legumes. Many of these crops can be stored and dried for long periods of time.

In the area of influence of Andean Alliance (Yurac Yacu), many families live between 3350 and 3650 meters with cold winds and frost falling from the Cordillera Blanca making outdoor planting difficult. 2016 saw the start of the food security program in which Andean Alliance initiated phase one of the installation of 16 family sized greenhouses. Having presented a project with Sombrilla (Edmonton, Alberta) funding was raised for the initial project. Families in the near area applied for a greenhouse and were chosen based on a scale of need including family size, income and then completion of the program which included cooking classes, organic/natural soil and pest control preparation.  Using the 7 greenhouses of The Lazy Dog Inn as a training area families were able to see how they are planted, harvested and attended the onsite workshops.

First workshop in March 2016. The benefits of using organic fertilizer and pest control mixes in food production.

The greenhouses are constructed from UV resistant greenhouse plastic and bubble paper to increase and maintain warmth, especially during the cold summer nights. Each family helped with construction and received non GMO seeds, seedling trays and other materials to help with planting. Throughout the year they receive monitoring visits to answer questions, advice when problems are detected and reinforce food preparation ideas.  Phase 2 in 2018 / 2019 saw the installation of 18 new greenhouses with the remaining 18 to be completed in the near future.

To help with the introduction of vegetables into the diet, the Yurac Yacu Center has constructed a smaller greenhouse and the preschoolers and teacher are responsible for its upkeep. In addition, every Wednesday, the children and a parent prepare a healthy vegetable based light lunch using items from the greenhouse, thereby teaching a variety of parents and serving a colorful and flavorful meal for the children to enjoy.

On a monitoring visit in May 2018.

Checking on Yovanna´s greenhouse in May 2018.

Nancy harvesting cabbage.

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