Alianza Arkana recently completed the second phase of our permaculture workshop in the Shipibo community of San Salvador. In February, community members learned how to control pests and make fertilizers using organic methods with the help of Agricultural Engineer Jorge Saurin Lopez.. Last week, the program was completed as participants learned how to grow different types of vegetables and reforested an area of community land.
During the three day course, participants cleared areas of three families’ overgrown plots in order to produce food and achieve greater community self-sufficiency. Before Alianza Arkana initiated our permaculture project in San Salvador last month, locals had for many years left their land uncultivated. As community leader Felipe Tananta Vasquez said “I had abandoned the garden for 20 years, now I’m re-learning how to do all this.”
The workshop participants lost no time in putting into practice the techniques learned in the previous course. First, they planted corn around the perimeter of the area to be cultivated. These lines of corn attract insects away from the main vegetable patch, Basil was also planted to act as a natural repellent.
Also present at the workshop were all 15 members of the Nuevo Egipto cooperative, who work in another Alianza Arkana permaculture project, where 3 hectares of demonstrative plots are being grown. This cooperative is working together to cultivate crops in each of its members’ family gardens.
Nuevo Egipto resident and Alianza Arkana permaculture technician, Roberto Sandoval, attended the previous workshop in February, and has transmitted his enthusiasm for growing healthy productive crops to many others in his community. Cooperative members are keen to replicate the techniques demonstrated during the course in their own project, and have also asked Alianza Arkana to show them how to develop earthworm compost in Nuevo Egipto.
The Nuevo Egipto delegation brought a youthful dynamism to this second workshop. Attendants showed increasing autonomy as the course progressed, selecting the location for seed beds, clearing the terrain, preparing the soil and planting with minimal guidance from Jorge Saurin.
On completing the workshop, participants had sowed coriander, spring onions, cabbage, cucumber, tomato and beetroot in the new seed beds. In addition, they planted 30 mango and uvilla (a local species bearing a fruit resembling an olive) saplings, reforesting a plot of land.
This regenerative approach to community well-being has developed considerable local interest. Katty Quio Valdivia, from the youth human rights organization Jovenes Promotores en Derechos Humanos, was also present at the workshop and commented, “In a world currently facing major crises, this project helps to improve nutrition and health standards, and by doing so also combats poverty. It´s very important for communities to (re)learn how to grow food organically, but equally, for someone like me, who comes from the city. Participating in this workshop has been part of my personal development, and I think these techniques should be applied within urban environments too.”
on Sunday, 24 March 2013