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Progress on our Bio-intensive Garden!

Garden w:Students 3:14

A Global Student Embassy update by Ben Gordon

With our first sprouts growing green leaves, the garden at Clinica Verde is off to a great start. We have hosted our first official charla (educational talk), planted six bio-intensive beds, initiated relationships with two schools, and have materials ready for our greenhouse. Socorro is proactive and creative in his work and you can feel his excitement emanate while leading practice-based learning and speaking about the future he sees. Clinica Verde Director Dr. Alba Castillo has  been an amazing leader and coordinator during our first few weeks, getting students pumped about the clinic, reaching out to schools, universities and even drivers for student groups.
In detail:
•  Six 10 square meter beds planted
•  Two piles of compost complete
• First thirty meters of a “green” fence (using a thick plant curtain to act as a wind break, pest and animal prevention, and to improve soil strength and fertility)
• One charla led
• Eight students from Windsor High School in California
• Thirty students and two teachers from Instituto Politecnico in Boaco
• Initial plan for involving CV patients: Alba will ask nurses to extend invitation to patients to visit the farm as well as take part in charlas. We will write a survey, including questions on health, diet and perceptions of sustainability and relationship of health and food.
• HIGHER (Clinica Verde’s student education program) chaperone Amanda Dario led Windsor students through patient intake and reflection on their experience.
• Received our first donation. Socorro saw some people filling a truck with dry leaves and branches to burn. He introduced the CV farm to them and the ecology movement it represents. An hour later, they came by the clinic to drop off the truck load.
•  Instituto Politecnico – Alba led the effort for them to attend the first charla.
•  We are planning on having groups of teachers and students attend the CV garden once
a week. Each group will consist of one teacher and two to four student leaders.
• Socorro will lead groups through practice-based learning. Each week will involve one
or two aspects of bio-intensive farming.
•  Each group will lead the remaining students in their section to implement the
techniques learned at the land owned by the high school (five acres).
•  Socorro will visit the school on a monthly basis to provide consultation and advice.
• We are currently looking into sources of funding and donated tools and seeds for the
• Alba made the introduction to Escuela San Nicolas, an elementary school just up the dirt road from CV.

The idea is similar to that of the Instituto, but will largely be led and implemented by teachers. Students will be present during the process as a form of outdoor learning and gaining early exposure to one aspect of sustainable living.

This coming week, we will be hosting:
• On Monday, we will host a charla with teachers from San Nicolas.
• On Tuesday, a work day with students of UC Davis and the University in Campoapa.
• Students will work at CV in the morning then all head to Campoapa in the afternoon.
• On Wednesday, a small group of teachers and student leaders from the Instituto will return to CV for another charla and practice-based learning.
Things are moving along!
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