Community and Family Gardens
In the small community of Macalajau, Quiché, Habitat Guatemala has partnered up with América Solidaria from Chile for a Community and Family Garden project. Macalajau is a rural farming community of Mayan K’iche’ descent. Most families live in extreme poverty, surviving on just subsistence farming and as day laborers on large plantations. Their homes are basic wood structures with dirt floors and no electricity. Though everyone has land, we noticed that they ate just corn, beans and grew very little else leaving the children fed but undernourished. So, we sought out a solution.
The project officially kicked off in April 2013 led by two volunteers from América Solidaria, along with field support from Habitat Guatemala and technical support from the organizations CIASPE and FOSIS. Step 1 was to build the Community Garden on a donated parcel of land behind the school.
From there, families received training on all types of organic farming techniques such as composting, growing seedlings in recycled PET bottles, earthworm worm harvesting, and much more. They also participated in social activities with the goals of confidence building, strengthening communal ties and the family unit as a whole. 63 families elected to be in the project for a total of 397 beneficiaries.
With the original pilot project showing successful results, we have started another year-long effort in the community of Canaque, San Marcos. Like home building with Habitat, the families of Macalajau were expected to contribute “sweat equity.” By fully being involved in the Community Garden project process, they not only developed confidence and a feeling of pride in their work, but they also transferred all the new farming techniques to their own personal family gardens.
Please click here for more detailed information about our exciting Community and Family Garden project.