One of the several programs we have been working on the past months in the Polochic valley is gardening. While the earth here is quite fertile and the tropical climate allows for the easy growing of plants all year round, the gardening of vegetables is not a common practice. This mostly stems from the lack of education on nutrition and the dietary value of vegetables. The gardening project aims to educate the youth of Nueva mercedes in a fun and interactive way that helps to tackle the lack of nutritional education.
We have planted a small garden in front of the house with tomatoes, chili peppers and carrots. The plants were first sprouted in old can and bottles then planted in the garden plot several days later. These activities were carried out with the help of the youth that attend daily computer classes and the implementation process was a combination of both work and education on plants and nutrition. Each week we do a little garden maintenance with the help of our students and incorporate the conversations about nutrition into our cooking classes. Thus far it has been a huge success. Many of the plants have been given away to families and students who now plan to start their own gardens. In combination with the cooking classes students now realize that vegetables are not only healthy but easy to grow and delicious when cooked properly. Our goal is for every family in Nueva Mercedes to have a garden of their own someday. This will reduce the cost of food and get kids much needed vitamins as the vegetables add to a more a balanced diet.
In the coming days we plan to expand the garden as our small plants have now grown and will soon be producing vegetables. The students here are excited and it is safe to say that the gardening project of Lichutam is showing great results both for the students and their families.