The Organic Orchard program of the Alfredo Harp Helú Oaxaca Foundation (FAHHO) began in 2009, offering training and support in the construction of organic orchards in poor rural indigenous settlements in the State of Oaxaca. This program involved students, teachers and parents to develop a sustainable alternative for the family production of healthy food, free of pesticides and agrochemicals. This was achieved through the conscientious use of local natural resources, respecting the social and natural environment of indigenous communities.
At the same time, some ecotechnologies such as a manually operated water pump and a solar cooker were introduced. Furthermore, workshops on medicinal plants and their use in the production of organic dyes, ointments and soaps were held. The program has had positive impact in more than 40 schools of different levels, from preschool to high school, but collaborative alliances have been also made with some organizations and universities, to promote an environmental education in the higher educative levels.
In 2010, the FAHHO was invited by the Emiliano Zapata Elementary School, and the community of San Miguel del Valle, Oaxaca, to provide advice on the orchard projects. A strong response was received from parents, especially women, who also established orchards in their homes with great success. The process of training and supporting these communities went on for 4 years and concluded with the participation of the community in the project “I Have a Dream”, presented at the Vancouver Biennale, for which we were invited to build a larger garden with beds of cultivation forming the message "I have a dream", in the local language, Zapoteco (NARA RAPA TE BCALL). This was how, with the help of the community, we began this beautiful project, culminating in the harvesting of all the vegetables planted there, as an act of awareness of everything that the land gives us, of sharing it, and of learning how to produce healthy our food. The entire processwas recorded in a video that participated in the Biennale in 2016, alongside many other analogous projects undertaken in different towns and cities of the world (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRRgxyJ-Uuc).
At the moment, a group of women of this community have teamed up to turn this idea into a productive project through the production of organic vegetables to be sold in the markets of the City of Oaxaca. With a great effort they have designed and constructed a new orchard, for which they require support in terms of infrastructure. They cultivate in open air and do not have the basic equipment to till the land, take care of the vegetables, supply the necessary irrigation, and transport the products to the city for sale. To date, they have earned a place within the most important organic markets, and a recognition for their participation in the Vancouver Biennale. The sales they have made represent a significant income in their economy and is contributing to enhance their food and income security.
Your contributions will help to:
• support irrigation infrastructure,
• expand the basic equipment for work in the orchards,
• diversify the crops and increase the cultivated area.
Contact Person: Lorena Harp Iturribarría