The group settled in the Palm Inn Hotel for dinner and a "transition night" that included some swimming. :) As part of the initial trip meeting, the group met with four leaders from GEAD, who shared how they took what they learned with MPP into an urban environment. They explained that as part of a pilot project with 60 families, the organizers received training in home gardening (specifically tire gardens). They worked to create collectives of 10 families each who set up communal vegetable gardens. Their focus is on building community and fraternity, not just gardens. Each collective holds weekly meetings, and also works to raise money to fund future projects.
Some comments from the leaders include:
- Common for families to be raised on corn, sorghum, and rice, but not vegetables.
- They never learned the importance of manuring, composting, irrigation, etc.
- They learned at MPP how to organize meetings.
- Although they have no background in growing food, they are now crazy about gardening and eating healthy food.
- Remarked that people do not eat many vegetables, not because of the cost, but because of a lack of knowledge about nutrition and health.
- The leaders shared that ultimately they would like to organize an urban farmer’s market with organic produce both for consumers and restaurants.
Overall it was a great meeting and a great introduction to the impact of our work. On to the interior tomorrow!