Continuing on from our collaboration with representatives from local schools in San Juan, who help us to identify the families who are in most need of support, we have identified: food insecurity, malnutrition, waterborne illnesses, and lack of education to be the key factors impacting the most disadvantaged people in the village. As a result of the lockdown from COVID-19, the village, which heavily relies on tourism, has witnessed mass unemployment, an exacerbation of food insecurity, and an increase in general stress levels, putting the most vulnerable people, often women, children, and the elderly, at greater risk of malnutrition, as well as increasing alcoholism and addiction levels within male groups and levels of domestic violence against women.
Our aim is to provide the community with a sustainable source of nutritious and varied food through integrating subsistence farming as community gardens as well as micro-farming walls in the vertical orientation within family homes. The organization and size of the planters’ modules will support a wide variety of edible planting including leafy, fruiting, and root vegetables. Constructed from upcycled waste products, recycled bottles, and organic waste, the planters will have a low environmental impact and are designed to flexibly adapt to the homes of each family.
For each family of 4, we propose to create an optimized plant selection for increased harvest yields across 100ft2 areas of wall or ground. We expect that within the target group of 375 families who are associated with the school of ENGOCA in San Juan la Laguna, this project will reach over 3,180 individuals and provide them with 65% of their nutrient-dense fruit and vegetable servings per family per year. Within the network of families, we expect to see crop variety (based on preference and yield) prompting a network of vegetable exchange and micro-economy for families to sell from their doorsteps. In the long term as individuals re-connect with the landscape and produce farming, we hope our contribution will alleviate food insecurity, improve socio-economic conditions for families and promote nutrition.
The project’s objective is to create a framework for sustainable micro-farming across the village of San Juan la Laguna to contribute to eradicating malnutrition. We wish to continue with food and nutrition education to impact every member of the family from grandparents to young children, by (1) initiating a seed bank, (2) strategy design and implementation of sustainable community farming and water filtration, (3) and the creation of an educational program of best cultivation practices. With lack of education being a huge barrier to entry for many, we seek to offer families: knowledge, understanding, tools, and encouragement to take control of their own sustainable food systems and health.
We're excited to announce that from April through October, a total of 40.000kg of corn in (800 bags / quíntales) have been delivered to the village of San Juan La Laguna. All of this has been divided equally between over 350 families who attend ENGOCA school in San Juan, La Laguna. Our next project will be to help set up gardens at family homes to continue to fight hunger throughout the community. Please stay tuned for details!
If you are having a problem submitting via the Paypal link on the site, please consider donating directly to the Ecolibri US site.
COVID-19 IN GUATEMALA
While the virus has yet to reach Lake Atitlán, the country itself is on lock-down and many indigenous families are already suffering from the devastating effects on the economy.
Many of the families in San Juan La Laguna rely on the influx of tourism to make a living. This includes artisans such as weavers that no have no way to generate income. Like in many countries throughout the world, the government has asked many other businesses to close their doors, leaving indigenous locals, who survive paycheck-to-paycheck, without a way to feed their families.
Additionally, food hoarding around the lake have led to shortage and extreme price gouging that make even basic necessities like corn and beans impossible for local families to afford.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Ecolibri is raising money to help support the families we work with around San Juan La Laguna. These families have already been identified as most-need via the local school system, and they struggle financially even without this state of emergency exacerbating their impoverishment.
Ecolibri is looking to provide basic food staples like corn, rice, bean, eggs and salt to the over forty most-need families that we help support. If we meet our fundraising goals, we hope to expand these efforts to the greater community of San Juan La Laguna.
A small donation will go a long way:
$50 will provide two bags of corn to support a family of four for 1 month
$100 will provide four bags of corn to support a family for 2 months - helping us to reach our goal per family
We are forever grateful for any support you can offer at this incredibly difficult time. Once our global community has recovered, we invite you back to Lake Atitlán, to stay with us, and enjoy experiences at the local coffee roasteries, farms, textile shops, and schools to further support our community.