GFDD’s Eco-Huertos Program Brings Year to-a-close with Creation of 8 New School and Community Gardens
Santo Domingo, December 12, 2013Tweet
On December 11th, the Eco-Huertos Program, which seeks to support sustainable garden creation in schools and communities throughout the Dominican Republic, successfully concluded a series of induction workshops, culminating in the establishment of 8 new fruit and vegetable garden systems.
From October 19th to November 15th 2013, 8 induction workshops were held in the cities of San Cristobal, Santo Domingo, and Santiago, at the Fe y Vida Abundante Church Center Foundation, Ave María Polytechnic School, Capotillo Education Center, Youth in Development School Club, Quisqueya Education Center, Unión Panamericana Secondary School, Republic of Paraguay School, and Tamboril Secondary School.
Targeted at groups of 30 to 40 people, including students, teachers and parents, the induction workshops are of critical importance for the long term success and sustainability of the gardens, as they lay the groundwork for the program, help establish goals and group commitments, set expectations, and address the functional details for garden creation.
Stage 2: Garden creation workshops
From November 20th to December 11th, the program entered its second stage with garden creation workshops at the aforementioned schools and community centers. Each garden was built to meet the specific needs of each group and took full advantage of available land, including vertical space and rooftops.
All of the students, teachers and parents who had previously participated in the induction workshops, came together again to build their respective fruit and vegetable gardens. Tasks included cleaning up the area of non-essential debris, pruning trees, putting together planter boxes, mixing substrate and planting seeds. In several cases where gardens were planted directly onto the school grounds, students worked with a carpenter to set up a perimeter fence, built from recycled wood pallets. Whenever possible, planters were also fashioned from recycled materials such as plastic liter bottles and used tires.
Among the delicious fruits, vegetables, and aromatic seeds planted were; passion fruit, melon, squash, coconut, cherry, tomato, onion, leek, green bean, eggplant, ginger, garlic, pepper, celery, spinach, okra, beet, carrot, radish, cucumber, lettuce, cilantro, chili, rosemary, parsley, basil, oregano, peppermint and pennyroyal. In some cases, ornamentals were also planted such as bromeliads, irises, lavender, milkweed huernia, snake plant and sedum.
The program, which to date has provided the materials and instruction to create and maintain gardens in a total of 18 schools and 6 community centers around the country, will continue to expand its reach in 2014. It is offering already established gardens technical workshops aimed at increasing the students’ knowledge base on areas such as pest and pollinators, seed conservation, organic fertilizers and composting, among others.
The Eco-Huertos program will also be working with several families in Las Barreras, Azua establishing program’s first family gardens. GFDD hopes that this particular project will help local families learn sustainable agriculture practices, thus supplementing their diets and at the same time helping to generate income.
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