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Home gardens: growing economy

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Home gardens: growing economy

The agro-family garden project is revolutionizing the coffee farms of El Pital. In this project, 40 women coffee growers were selected, who were equipped with the tools to grow their own food. Testimonies like that of Alba Milena López, this project germinates a future of self-sufficiency and prosperity for peasant families.

By: Gloria Camargo

In the imposing mountains that are home to the farmers of Huila, where endless fields of coffee and beans unfold like a green tapestry, a revolutionary initiative emerges that is transforming the reality of rural communities: home gardens.

This pioneering project, located in the municipality of El Pital, has begun by meticulously selecting 40 women dedicated to agriculture, identified through the Extension Service of the National Federation of Coffee Growers through the Coffee Information System – SICA. These beneficiaries have a minimum area of ​​70 m² for planting and have demonstrated a palpable commitment to the project since its inception.

Family gardens, currently conceived as a beacon of sustainability, have gained momentum thanks to the vision and determination of these women. Maryi Liset Tovar, Representative of the Departmental Committee of Coffee Growers, highlights that this initiative, supported with resources from the National Coffee Fund, is weaving the roots of food security and prosperity in the coffee farms in the area.

“We detected a critical gap at the departmental level, where coffee-growing families were disconnected from their food sources. We wanted to change this paradigm and foster a more intimate relationship with the land and crops on our farms,” Tovar emphasizes, emphasizing the responsibility and sense of belonging of these women in the initiative.

He adds that “they provided the labor and we provided the seeds, inputs and mesh. Fortunately, they have shown exceptional commitment, growing products for their consumption and some others that they now sell successfully in the municipal gallery.”

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Therefore, this project is not only generating a positive impact on the food security of rural communities, but is also strengthening the local economy by opening new business opportunities for coffee growing women committed to the land and sustainable development.

Make market at home

Palpable testimonies of transformation emerge from the voices of the women involved. Alba Milena López, a resident of the Carmelo village in the upper part of El Pital, shares her testimony by stating that “for two decades, I have not bought a single onion bush. I maintain my garden with carrots, beans, corn, fruits and much more. Even my animals benefit as I am raising my own chickens. I don’t need to buy chicken from anyone; I have become self-sufficient.

The active collaboration of the Huila Coffee Growers Committee, supported by the guidance of extension agent Lucio Yamid Ramírez Cantillo, has proven essential to the continued success of the project. López emphasizes the importance of the professional, pointing out that he “has been watching for the plants to germinate. Thank God, everything has prospered. Although sometimes life gets complicated due to busyness at home, other responsibilities and taking care of my son, I am always attentive to this process.”

The project has not only generated benefits in terms of food security, but has also had a palpable impact on the economy of the participants. Alba Milena vividly highlights how she can clearly perceive the difference in her pocket. She explains that this economic perspective is essential, since many people lack a garden and are forced to make purchases, incurring significant expenses.

“With only 50,000 pesos, one can leave a store with very few products, since the prices are high,” mentions Alba Milena. She adds that “thanks to the garden, I can save between 20,000 and 30,000 pesos by selling cilantro.” This additional income not only allows him to cover specific needs, such as buying meat or fruit for her son, but also significantly improves her quality of life.

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In this way, the sale of cultivated products not only represents an economic difference, but also offers the possibility of maintaining part of their diet directly on the farm, thus consolidating a significant change in their economic situation and general well-being.

Go back to the roots

Meanwhile, Nidia Castillo, who is an active part of this pilot project in the municipality of El Pital from the Campoalegre village, shares her experience and perspectives on the importance of family gardens.

In his own words, he highlights that “for me, gardening is a beautiful hobby and a return for the family basket. I save a lot, especially on onion, cilantro and vegetables. This relieves our pocketbook and all of us who have a farm should have it.”

Castillo also reflects on how the opportunity to have a garden positively transformed his life on the Velcas farms. He thanks the local extension agent who generously gave them the opportunity to start this project.

“I save a lot on essential products in our daily meals. I think we should all incorporate this practice on our farms, since it represents an input that all of us who own land should have.”

Thus, today in Huila, family gardens are not simply green patches on coffee farms; They are seeds of change that are germinating a more sustainable and prosperous future. This pilot project is not only transforming the reality of coffee growing women, but is also charting the path towards a more resilient and autonomous community.

Each leaf and fruit grown in these orchards are witnesses to the blossoming of a new era of sustainability and abundance in the majestic coffee lands of Huila.

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Sustainability at home

In the midst of a society increasingly aware of the importance of healthy eating and sustainability, home gardens have flourished as a significant and transformative trend. More than just expanses of land, these growing ‘oases’, whether on balconies, backyards or urban gardens, represent a direct connection with nature and a tangible means of ensuring fresh and healthy food on the table.

From classic tomatoes and lettuce to aromatic culinary herbs and, in some cases, even the sweet reward of fruit, these plots become fertile canvases where creativity and nutrition meet. The variability of growing options allows growers to customize their gardens based on their preferences, seasons, and space availability.

What is distinctive about these gardens is their conscious focus on sustainability and food self-sufficiency. By adopting organic growing practices and methods that respect ecological balance, home growers not only ensure fresh, pesticide-free food, but also become active agents of change towards a more sustainable food system.

With this, in Huila, home gardens are more than simple growing areas; They are seeds of change. By adopting this practice, you not only grow food, but also a more sustainable and healthy future.

Each little plant is a declaration of food independence and a tangible reminder of the collective power to positively transform our environment. And so, as home gardens flourish, so does our ability to cultivate a greener, conscious and resilient future for generations to come.

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