The introduction of 54 greenhouses from 2017-2019 has given the opportunity for families to have access to fresher and healthier food in addition to learning how to grow and tend a garden while minimizing the need to travel to town and spend time and money on less healthy options. What could not have been predicted was the effect of the Corona Virus Pandemic of 2020 on the lives of those around us. As of this date Peru is on day 110 of a quarantine and emergency shut down. What this has meant directly to people in our area:
- Schools are closed and education is via the home with minimal technological resources
- People were immediately unemployed thereby reducing what household income there was
- There is no public transportation to Huaraz leaving people with a 14-16 km walk for supplies
- The two major areas of infection came from the large markets and bank line ups
- People are told to stay in their homes and no children outside so the focus is on the farm
- People are afraid to go to town for fear of infection
- Lots of misinformation leaving people unsure about what is going on
Given these factors, people turned readily to what was around them and then the importance of vegetable production really kicked in. Their ability to grow and harvest their grains and legumes, raise chicken and other meat sources, milk, and now vegetables, left them with only needing to fulfill purchases like fruit and some cooking supplies. Although the importance of the green house was there – it was this epic life disruption to remember the need for providing for themselves what they can. As the rest of the country and the town below us beckoned for fresh food, the families in the project had enough around to keep them fed and healthy.
There has been a great resurgence in commitment and interest in food production with all family members taking part. What for some was a bit of a daunting experience: learning to tend a garden; water, weed, plant, consume, and organize family members to develop the habit – has become a group activity.
We are all waiting for the country to heal and lessen restrictions; for work opportunities, education, health, and for people to see each other again. There remains however a very strong connection to food production and self-reliance as people see that this world will not be as it was, and the blessings of having what they needed around them will live on for years to come.
Please see our donation project page if you would like to participate in helping to provide more greenhouses in the area.