Isuyama, the launch of our school garden project in Peru
In July 2017, collaboration between our Dutch NGO, Biodiversiteit en Educatie and the Peruvian NGO, Picaflor Research Centre, resulted in the start of our first school garden in Peru. We began in the small village of Isuyama, near Puerto Maldonado, the capital of Madre de Dios department, in the rain-forested southeastern part of the country. The school is the social heart of the village. An enthusiastic teacher and the school’s director have cultivated the support of the local community. Almost all parents have become involved with the development of the school garden.
Students from Heerbeeck College, in the south of Holland, raised money to purchase garden tools which were distributed at the start of the project.
These Dutch students traveled to Isuyama, where they were given a warm welcome. The preparation for this trip lasted over a year, in which time the students worked hard to make enough money to cover their travel expenses as well as to pay for equipment for the school garden project.
The Isuyama parents worked hard for several days assisting in the preparation of the garden site. In the meetings prior to breaking ground, it was decided to dedicate the site to three main areas: vegetables, flowers and for longer-living plants such as fruit-producing shrubs and trees. Next, the students prepared beds and seeded and transplanted selected plants. All that remained to be done was to construct a fence around the site to afford protection from free-ranging chickens, pigs and goats. There was not much time left because of the imminent rainy season.
Furthermore, a regional educational strike had resulted in the loss of several months of valuable production time.
Despite these obstacles, the leafy greens have been doing well. Tomato plants have also performed well, although the fruits didn’t get adequate time to grow really big. With the enthusiasm and the experience of the pilot year, hopes are high that 2018 will become a productive year.
Contacts have been made with other elementary schools in Puerto Maldonado. We expect more schools to start school gardens in 2018!
Have a look at our school garden project in Rurrenabaque, Bolivia.