Access to healthy food is just the beginning.
MESA DE LOS SANTOS
BERLIN GARDEN PROJECT
In January of 2014, several LAUGHH board members visited the people in Berlin, Santander, Colombia. Berlin is a town high in the Andes mountains. We suggested that a community garden might be a good thing to help provide healthy food to the people. The suggestion was not accepted at that time, because “…it is too cold…won’t work…”.
In July of 2014, the entire LAUGHH team went to Berlin to provide primary health care to the people. We still saw a need and so suggested that maybe the school children could start working on a community garden to help provide healthy food. We offered the assistance of nutrition and exercise programs to help the children.
In July of 2015, gardens were in place, plants were growing, and the children were getting involved. At that time, there were about 12 gardens.
Over the next few years, this project grew until most of the children had a garden to work on. And some of the children were starting gardens at their homes. We helped with cooking classes, exercise classes, and nutrition education. The school continues to be involved in teaching exercise and helping the students.
An irrigation system was needed, and they were struggling to get the materials needed. We assisted with that, and the irrigation system is in place.
As the number of gardens grew, it was getting harder and harder to prepare the plots for planting. We assisted in getting a gas-powered rototiller to make it easier and more efficient.
In surveys that LAUGHH gave one year, we were able to determine that the residents (children and adults) had increased their knowledge level on healthy foods and good nutrition. We found that drug use had decreased, and crime activity was down.
We continue to monitor and help as needed.