In our women’s empowerment program, we cultivate collaborative and meaningful relationships with the women of Huaycán and assist them in improving their physical and emotional well-being through education and promotion of leadership and creativity.
In collaboration with environmental engineer Gina Tito we have launched the first community garden in Zone Z. The goal of the project is to provide the space, materials, education and support for the women to start and maintain the garden.
Gina Tito commenced the project with an educational talk in August, inspiring the women by elaborating on the importance and possibilities of a community vegetable garden, or biohuerto in Spanish. She walked the women through the important steps to starting a garden, including how to compost, the right soil conditions and what factors to consider in deciding what crops to grow. Beyond logistics, she also spoke to the benefits of a community garden, including increased food security and access to nutritious foods. In addition, she spoke to the incredible ability of community gardens to provide green spaces, an enhanced sense of community and stewardship and an increased sense of personal empowerment and satisfaction.
In September, the garden was officially started. The first days consisted of hard labor; we cleared small boulders and rocks from the area, moved soil to level the area and improved the soil quality with the addition of compost.
The project continued with the construction of a fence and a water distribution system, with Gina teaching the women how to build a cost-effective sprinkler system using hosing and recycled water bottles.
On November 12th, the women came together to plant the fist crops. We planted lettuce, spinach, beets, green beans, corn, various local herbs, and caigua (a fruit traditionally cultivated in the Andes).
–Audrey Fulwiler, LLI’s Women’s Program Manager