SewHope staff work with families to develop vegetable gardens (cilantro, onions, radishes, tomatoes, peppers, etc.), raise poultry for meat and eggs, and grow fruit trees (plaintains, mangos, and pineapples) at their homes. SewHope provides seed, plants, tools, and instructional support to help families become skilled home-growers. Over 100 families have been supported in this effort.
We also teach school-aged children about nutritional foods and gardening as part of their after-school enrichment program.
We also partner with the local university’s agricultural students and the Guatemalan Ministry of Agriculture to teach community members better ways to grow their crops (which are primarily corn and beans) as well as introduce new ones (watermelon, tomatoes, peppers, Maya nut (Ramon) trees, and others) to generate more yields and income.
Working with families to grow food...We provide the seeds and the skills and they do the work to bring nutritious food to their children. Women in our communities are given the tools and education they need to develop their own vegetable gardens.
Children of Pueblo Nuevo School build first vegetable garden in their community
While SewHope provided the encouragement, seeds and supplies, the teachers and children of the school in Pueblo Nuevo planted the first vegetable garden in the community in August of 2009. Several weeks later, they harvested many different types of vegetables including cilantro, onions, carrots and other local vegetables! This effort truly demonstrated to the community and especially to the children, the many things they were capable of. It united the community in many ways in addition to providing valuable nutrition! We are proud to say that we know have provided the seeds and encouraged the people to establish 60 vegetable gardens just this year!
Ismael Martinez works with community leaders to learn agricultural techniques
SewHope's Guatemalan project coordinator, Ismael Martinez, continues to make agricultural development in our communities a top priority. He has involved students from the Agricultural School in the local university to become involved in teaching the community members. He has brought many of the men to visit other small farms where effective agricultural techniques are being used. When the local men refused to believe that their land could grow many different types of crops, Ismael worked with only one other community leader to sew a crop of watermelons. When 200 watermelons were harvested several weeks later, many families signed up to participate in the program and now vegetable gardens are growing throughout the community.
Women and children all involved in garden program
We give great thanks to one of our project directors, Orfelinda Guerrera Martinez, for partnering with the Ministry of Agriculture of Guatemala and the organization, CATHIE, to initiate this tremendous and sustainable program. The women and children of the community are proud to show us the great effort that their entire families have put into improving nutrition for their families. Some of the families have harvested sufficient produce to sell at the local markets.