This month, our update comes from Tecpan, Guatemala, where a group of Mayan women have recently begun gardening again with SPI’s support. These farmers aren’t newcomers—in addition to their traditional knowledge, most have vegetable-growing experience from a program that was supported by Wendy de Berger, the First Lady of Guatemala from 2004 – 2008.
When the government changed, support for this program was ended and the Tecpan farmer’s gardens went fallow without access to good seed. However, their group didn’t disband. Led by Paula López, continued to meet regularly to preserve their Mayan culture and find ways to support each other. Gardens are one way to facilitate the preservation and transmission of traditional knowledge and also provide nutrition and income to communities.
When SPI seed arrived, the group immediately gathered to determine how best to share radish, cucumber, eggplant, cabbage, and carrot seeds amongst the 55 women. Over several meetings, Paula distributed the seed and reviewed basic planting instructions. These are strong, self-organized women, and they only needed access to a few resources to re-establish their gardening program.
“This project has the potential to benefit the women’s group in Tecpan in many ways, for example, it will help foster connection with the mother earth, team work, and family work, as well as, increase the production of food without insecticides. People will to learn and get used to having a garden at home and saving money. But the one of the most important benefits is that this project will help the women and families eat healthier by consuming products that come from the earth. The women are very happy about this project.” — Paula López, Women’s Group & Gardening Project Leader
We’re proud to partner with Paula and the Tecpan Women’s Group and hope to see the project grow in the coming year. SPI volunteer Alejandra Sanchez has visited with the gardeners and her report is promising.
“After my most recent visit to Guatemala, I have very high hopes for the gardening project in Tecpan. Paula is a woman that learned from a very young age how to garden, and all the women in the Tecpan group also have some sort of experience in gardening. After talking to some of them, it became evident that they know very well what they are doing, and everyone is excited about the project. Some were already planning on selling the surplus of the harvest and using that profit to buy more seeds and make the project bigger.” — Alejandra Sanchez, SPI Volunteer
As always, thank you! A little goes a long way with determined people who just need good seed to transform their communities. We’re grateful for your support of Sweet Blossom Gifts and the Women’s Empowerment Initiative!
Sweet Blossom Gifts & The SPI Team