“Farm-to-Table” in Amazonian Communities

More than three months have passed since we began our “Grow and Cook” program with mothers and children in the Shipibo community Puerto Firmeza. The female participants have been highly motivated and are very happy with the classes.

Every week, the mothers learn something new about nutrition and plan the dish to cook in the next workshop, which must meet certain nutritional characteristics such as the inclusion of all food groups in one dish (vegetables and fruits, cereals, soups and foods of animal origin), the right balance between carbohydrates, proteins and fats, and healthier preparation methods.

In the cooking classes, mothers learn how to bring more nutrients to their traditional dishes. Additionally, they learn new recipes that can be easily replicated at home. These recipes include different crops and regional vegetables or those that can easily be grown in the area. In July, the mothers cleared their land in order to plant these crops, so that they will be able to enjoy the long-term benefits of more nutritious and varied meals.

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Alianza Arkana nutritionist Mariana Orta and Shipibo permaculture expert Marcos Urquía have started planting in some of the workshop participants family plots. Within a few months mothers will be able to use these products, not only for the workshops but also for family consumption.

The seeds planted include kaiwa, a regional vegetable, a local bean known as chiclayo, peanuts, , sweet pepper, cilantro and tomato. Subsequently further crops will be included that grow easily in the area, such as cucumber, watermelon, and corn.

In this way, mothers will have access to a variety of foods, improving community food security. Likewise, other families that are interested in improving the quality of their diet will be able to use seeds from these vegetables.

Mariana Orta Duarte, Monday, 12 August 2013

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