Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Social Event: Photo Blog

This last Saturday, Saturday 14th March, the Urban Agriculture team hosted a social event with many of the producers of APU (Asociación de Productoras Urbanas/Association of Urban Producers), a group of predominantly female vegetable producers from El Alto. 

Our work with APU, and with a partner organisation Focapaci, seeks to empower the women we work with, whilst also enhancing their level of nutrition. Because of the busy lifestyles of the producers, often having to work in another job and having to look after their children, we are rarely able to get good access to speak to a large group of them about issues which affect them.

The idea of this event was to provide such access and give the producers a chance to learn more about themselves, the industry of urban agriculture, and strengthen our relationship with them. 

Please find below a photo diary of our day together in Achocalla, a town approximately 10km from La Paz, below:

The day commenced with a tour of the surroundings of Jardins of Achocalla (Gardens of Achocalla), including in-depth discussions of the work they do in producing organic vegetables.
Here, owner of Jardines de Achocalla, Pedro Brunhart, provides an explanation of how to make good compost during the tour.
Next came a talk, titled 'A life free of violence', by local lawyer, Lidia Señal, to discuss with the producers their rights. Part of our project seeks to empower the women we work with to enhance them in their lives and in their work.

The talk was very well-received by the producers, who took notes and asked many questions throughout.

For lunch, we initiated an 'Apthapi', whereby all producers bring some food to share with the group. A special thanks to Lucy and Ewa of our team who supplied the food on our behalf.
During the day we looked after the children of the producers, who can't afford daycare and thus have to bring their children with them. Special thanks to Alejandro, Freddie, Ariel and Daniela who worked with the children throughout the day.
After lunch, we split the group into two groups. Here, Lucy and Ewa take the lead on a nutrition workshop, discussing with the producers the importance of a good diet.

We also introduced the producers to same of our designs for resources to help them in their work. Here, two photos show the  producers discussing our proposal for an agricultural calendar, showing when best to grow certain vegetables in the difficult conditions of El Alto.

The beautiful settings of the Jardines Armonía Achocalla (The Harmony Gardens of Achocalla) provided a stunning background for the day, with the sun shining favourably throughout.

Away from the nutrition workshops, in the other group, Carla, Serin and Connie took the lead on a workshops discussing with the producers how best to manage their emotions; an important issue which is often not discussed here in Bolivia.

Again, the workshops received the active participation of the producers, who rarely get the opportunity to discuss their feelings.

Thanks to the good work of the team, the children of the producers had a fantastic day in completely different settings to their home in El Alto.

After the carousel, and despite being stretched for time, in-country volunteer Mariela lead a pesticides workshop, discussing with the producers some of the diseases plants can get in the greenhouse (a huge obstacle for successful production) and demonstrating to the producers how best to make pesticides to combat them.

The producers were given an opportunity to try making these pesticides for themselves, and take home bottles of what they had made.

The survivor's photo at the end of an exhausting day. A big thank you to the 45 producers (and their children) who came to spend the day with us. We have never had such good access to them and such an insight into their concerns and wishes for the future.

And of course, a big thanks to the Urban Agriculture team for such hard work preparing for and delivering the event, it is all hugely appreciated. A special thanks also to those outside of the team, Daniela and Ariel, who also came to lend their support throughout the day.


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