Lakeside Foodbank and Poco a Poco have been feeding children, and renal patient families, since 2019. Throughout Covid, they continued this important program and how want to grow food to help feed the community in future.
The children who received food from the Kids Kitchen programs (6 locations now!), have been identified as being vulnerable, for various reasons, for getting kidney disease. (Known malnutrition issues, parents or close relatives with kidney disease, not really part of a family and thus considered "abandoned", among other reasons.)
But trying to keep providing food is not the only solution. Growing food is a way to make a change. And getting local people involved with improving their diet and helping themselves, is essential. But teaching and maintaining a garden project has its challenges too.... as we have found in the past.
In May 2022, we were given the use of some land and a warehouse area near Mezcala, and some other land in San Nicholas to create a community garden locations.
The story from Patricia Moran - May 2022: After 4 months of effort to find land in Mezcala where we can put the Eco Huerto boxes, we were given the keys and the papers to an amazing piece of property. We were given the land for free and the agreement is we can use it for as long as we choose and as long as it benefits the community. We all realize that legally the community can decide to take it back but that is true even if we bought the property.
The location is great. Just before the first entrance to Mezcala on the mountain side, look for a large warehouse. The entrance to the land is a short way up a dirt road. The land is fully secured, has water and electricity and the huge warehouse. It also has a broken down outdoor kitchen. It has lovely views and feels peaceful backed up against the mountains. A man named Luis is the caretaker and protector of the property. There is a room in the warehouse where he often sleeps. He, by all accounts, is a gifted builder and handyman and knows everything about the property. He will attend the workshop along with some from San Pedro, and we will pay him to look after the boxes.
China, her father, and his attorney friend and I have spent many hours meeting with various members of the elder council, looking at properties, building trust, sitting in homes having meals, explaining what we want to do and why. It has been a wonderful, at times frustrating, but always interesting time of deepening our understanding of the lives of the people in these villages. I have fallen in love with these old guys with their steady gazes and wicked senses of humor. (One time we asked one of them how many children he had and his answer was “Which street!”)
The first step, which will start in June 2022, is to fix the outdoor kitchen. Luis will be in charge of this. The money is coming from a donation to Kids Kitchen. I am contacting the company regarding the Eco Huerto boxes to arrange a day when they can come and give a workshop about the boxes.
This also seems a perfect set up to not only grow food but also hold classes in the kitchen about how to cook the food and nutritional classes, etc. For the classes, participants could literally harvest the veggies and learn to cook them on the spot!
We want this garden to be only planted with heritage plants, so that they can be harvested, seeds collected and new plants grown from those seeds.
If you have some heritage vegetable seeds to donate, please let us know. If you have garden tools you are not using - we would love them. And if you have an interest in helping with this project, please contact Patricia Moran!