Andean communities face high malnutrition rates due to lack of vitamins and nutrients, which are hard to come by in the remote Peruvian mountains. When this challenge was first made apparent by local school director Fredy Nunez in 2009, a team of graduate students co-designed the first school greenhouse program with him, the community of Pampacorral, and local ag expert Ruben Huaman Quispe. By joining these actors, each bringing a unique skill to the table, we were able to begin addressing the issue of malnutrition in a local and sustainable way.
School Greenhouses produce vegetables that are used in school lunches, adding valuable nutrients and vitamins so kids can stay healthy and focused. Greenhouses also create an interactive classroom and a space for community-wide learning. The youngest students might be learning math by counting broccoli, while older students are studying ecological soil fertility. Meanwhile, each morning a team of mothers harvest veggies and herbs from the gardens to spruce up the school lunch. Want to know what that looks like? Check out a typical school greenhouse lesson in the video below.
Did you know?
The AASD has been working with school gardens and greenhouses since 2009. In 2014, our expertise was acknowledged by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), by inviting us to consult the Peruvian National School Lunch program in their initiative to develop school gardens. This collaboration continues as we explored the issue further in a Summer 2017 Research Initiative.
Our role is focused on facilitating the whole process from project ideation to incorporating veggies into school lunches. The AASD’s quechua speaking technicians give regular classes in the greenhouse and train teachers in maintenance and educational activities. We make long-term commitments to communities and ensure that they get the resources and training necessary to enjoy years of impactful school gardens and greenhouses. But it’s definitely a team effort; with directors, students, teachers, parents, government officials, and international students, faculty, and donors, all working together through the AASD in order to address malnutrition using sustainable, organic, greenhouse farming.
But it doesn’t end at the school gate. Parents and kids are so involved in the school greenhouses, and so excited by their potential, they have begun to build greenhouses of their own. Because the AASD values long-term relationships with these communities and appreciates the potential impact of this local innovation, we decided to help develop a family greenhouse model. Find out how today hundreds of Families are Growing a Future.
When we went into Calca to make jewelry with these children, you can feel the Peruvian hospitality on all levels. Their organization that holds the jewelry making portion helps children... read more who don’t have anything to do after school. The children and the directors were some of the nicest people I have ever met. Their diligence in making the jewelry far surpasses anything I could do. When making the jewelry, the directors and the children we very helpful and eager to assist you. The language barrier seemed nonexistent when you work with these kids and their supervisors in something they truly loved to do. After making different jewelry you go into shop/ museum and they show you how the jewelry is made from natural materials like beans and reeds. The shop was amazing and it is all run by the children. All the jewelry in the shop is made by the children. The prices for the jewelry is also very affordable but very high quality. Before we left we had to take a photo with them to show our gratitude for this wonderful experience. This was by far one of the best parts of my Peru s