Friday, July 13, 2012

Volunteer Kelly Young Returns to the "Land of Lakes and Volcanoes"

Kelly Young of the University of Arizona, who traveled to Nicaragua for her first Partners FTF assignment in June 2011, returned to the "Land of Lakes & Volcanoes" last month to carry out a second volunteer trip. This recent trip focused on food security, food safety and nutrition near the capital city of Managua and the municipalities of Sebaco and Camoapa.

Middle school students prepare a raised seed bed using a
car tire.
Growing vegetables in backyard and school gardens are key ways to improve food security, improve nutrition and cut food costs. Over the course of her 2-week visit, Kelly provided hands-on gardening training to more than 180 youth and adults to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills to achieve these three major benefits. Trainings focused on soil preparation, composting, planting techniques, crop maps, irrigation, integrated pest management, and seed-saving.

Vegetable growers display their certificates following a
day-long training program.
Kelly worked with four main hosts during her visit: Hogar Luceros del Amanacer, a youth development center in Camoapa; Casa de la Mujer, which provides various trainings for women in Camoapa including gardening, sewing, baking, self-esteem; a group of producers in Sebaco supported by Catholic Relief Services; and Fabretto (http://www.fabretto.org), an NGO in Managua that works with schools to improve food security among their students.  Fabretto selected three of its schools for gardening training - Wisconsin and Acahualinca middle schools and the SAT vocational high school -  and hopes that these students will share their new knowledge with their families and replicate the school gardens in their own backyards.

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