During the pandemic, rural communities in Guanacaste suffered greatly from loss of jobs, incomes and livelihoods. In an effort to support neighbors in need, Creciendo Juntos partnered with the Scheinberg Relief Fund and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) to launch Home Gardens, a community initiative that trained 53 families in five local communities how to grow their own vegetables not only for self-consumption, but as a sustainable commercial endeavor, selling excess production for much-needed income.
The initiative flourished with great success. The families, the majority led by women, participated in a comprehensive seven-month training program that covered a wide-range of areas including accounting, team work, sustainability, harvesting, irrigation, waste management, and supply chain efficiency. Over 5,000 linear meters of beds were sowed with 15 varieties of vegetables using non-transgenic seeds in the nearby communities of El Triunfo, Paso Tempisque, Palmira, Comunidad, and Guardia. The project yielded more than 20,000 kilograms of produce, which provided sustenance for participating families as well as economic profits from selling surplus produce to restaurants, supermarkets and other residents.
“Neither my family nor I ever imagined the positive impact that this project would have on our lives,” said Verania Chavarría, a neighbor and now a farmer in the Comunidad community.