Peacebuilding en Las Américas

Planting Sustainable Peace: Food Sovereignty

by Monica Maher 

Peacebuilding en las Américas (PLA) colleagues are moving from their very successful Peace Baskets Project and hurricane relief efforts to focus on Planting Sustainable Peace through promoting vegetable gardens and Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops. In addition, they are very interested in beginning the Peace Libraries and Power of Goodness programs in their local areas; for the first time, they attended the Peace Ministries meeting where they dialogued directly with AGLI and AWP colleagues.

Colombia.  Franciscan Sister Patricia Duque of the Department of Antioquia continues with her own exemplary home vegetable garden in addition to promoting four others in her community.  The gardens are extremely creative, incorporating pipes at varying levels to allow those without much land to grow their own food.  Community building and motivation for the vegetable gardens are part of the online experience of AVP workshops in Colombia.

Ecuador.   The community garden of Andean lupine beans in the indigenous community of Cotacachi is ready for harvest.  The Kichwa women leaders of Jambi Mascari chose the beans for their high-protein content, healing purple flower, and ability to withstand dry spells.  Paradoxically, Ecuador has experienced unprecedented levels of rain fall which is delaying harvest.  With a vision of diversifying their project, the leaders will provide fruit trees as well as gardening tools to 30 members of their organization for home gardens.  They are also planning an agricultural fair for produce exchange with a neighboring community with a warmer climate.

Guatemala. After training by agronomist Ricardo Estrado, 15 women of the Peace Schools are planning their vegetable gardens with attention to the local soil and climate.  Together with the Director of the Peace Schools, plans are also underway  to promote team planting and care of vegetable gardens among 51 students.  Seeds and irrigation pipes have been purchased for the student project.  In-person meetings, suspended after a teacher contracted Covid, should resume next month.   Project participants will connect virtually soon through online AVP workshops, one for students and one for women.