This week we continued our work in helping local community schools from around Lake Atitlan to create permaculture school gardens, a project which started last year and that will continue for the rest of the school year.
Last week we met with the teachers and students we will be working with in implementing a permaculture school garden at the Pavarotti School in San Lucas Tolimán, by the edge of Lake Atitlan. We will be demonstrating permaculture techniques and working with 21 students from 1st, 2nd and 3rd Básico, chosen by their teachers to be the “Guardians of the Garden,” a name chosen by the students. We started off with an introduction to permaculture class and its systems of food production. Ramiro Tzunún, permculturist and IMAP technician, gave the presentation, sharing the importance of caring for the earth and its natural resources, and preserving ancestral knowledge to be able to plant and harvest our own food in an ecological, healthy and overall positive way for the environment and for people.
We discussed the different ways of recycling various materials to create or improve our permaculture garden – for example, using plastic bottles, used tires, cooking pots, containers, sugar or rice packaging, plastic cups and other things to create aerial systems of food production. With these materials we can build vertical gardens, green walls, and other forms that will adapt to the available space. This type of permaculture gardening also helps to cultivate the students’ creativity and make the work more interesting and fun.
We got to know the medicinal herb garden that is already built and that the students of 1st and 2nd básico take care of. The school is interested in continuing this garden, improving it, and documenting the information on the characteristics, properties and advantages of each plant for use in the school.
We then began preparing the soil and cleaning the available areas for the permaculture gardens.
The students started emptying the used tires of soil that will be used in a new space, while other students moved the tires over to their new location. The students cleaned up the space, which had been used for some time as a place to store many things the school did not know what to do with. The students cleared the space of PVC pipes, plastic containers, metal rods and other various objects.
The space is now ready to build the various permaculture designs the students will create for a variety of plants. Next week there will be an introduction to the permaculture different designs that can be used in various spaces, giving the students a foundation in permaculture for using and exercising their own creativity.