Update on the Community Garden Project

One of our beneficiaries with her irrigation equipment.

One of our beneficiaries with her irrigation equipment.

By Clare, Mariposa Intern
The community garden project is moving along well. We have decided to hire a coordinator, Karin, a young woman living in Santiago, to guide us around the neighbourhood and to help place volunteers with families. Karin’s family is one of the twenty-six beneficiaries and has been looking for work in the tourism industry but has had no luck.
I visited three or four beneficiaries the other day with Luis, a local expert in composting, to give us a better understanding of the set-up of each plot and to take photos to send to Michael. Many of the plots have been cleaned up and families are ready to start planting! We have decided to fund a ten meter by ten meter plot for each family. Compost production is very straightforward – basically a wooden box is filled with oxen and/or horse manure. A handful of worms is added and they do the rest of the work. Within 6 to 8 weeks you a box full of amazingly good compost (we already use this system at the Mariposa). Each family will have their own box, which needs to be placed in the shade as worms love a cool climate. To begin the project, we will gather all the beneficiaries at one home to do a compost training session and continue to monitor in the weeks following. Some of the families already have an understanding of composting with worms. Michael has raised a little more than $1,000 and is in contact with fellow gardening groups in New York to try and raise more. Jan and Allan, former guests at La Mariposa, have left us a generous donation that will allow us to start buying the espadillo, our ‘living fence’ plant and wood for the compost bins! We seem to have found a farm where espadillos grow; I’m hoping to go visit it next week. I can’t wait to see this project up and running.


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