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Harvesting Solutions is a student led innovative project that takes place in the community of Mochuelo Bajo in Bogota, Colombia. The project began in 2011 at the request of the families in the community who wanted to get involved in the cultivation of food. Colombia's armed conflict has resulted in both voluntary and forced migration of families from the country's rural areas to urban centers such as Mochuelo. The result of this influx of new residents to the community has created a social clash between them and the settlers who have inhabited the area for years. This is compounded by the lack of opportunities for access to education, employment, health and recreation. For this reason, Harvesting Solutions looks to increase the sense of community for its residents while simultaneously working to establish food security in the community. Harvesting Solutions intends to reach the population through education and training activities that have the potential to become an ongoing collaborative activity with the goal of making Mochuelo sustainable.
Harvesting Solutions has 3 stages:
2. Compost making
The first and second stage both involve 8 to 9 workshops for children and adults that teach community members how to recycle and how to make compost derived from the solid wastes generated in their households. The workshops also explain what the benefits are for them, for the community and for the environment, as well as innovative business opportunities in these actions. Malnourishment is one of Mochuelo’s greatest problems and so stage 3 involves the construction of vertical and horizontal gardens (per family) made with recycled materials and compost of the earlier stages. This stage also includes 8 workshops that teach the basics of gardening construction, and healthy food habits. Each garden is able to generate basic food production for the family. The entire system consists of an exchange network between food harvested between one family and the other, creating variety of products as well as social integration. Currently in its pilot stage in Mochuelo Bajo, Harvesting Solutions hopes to expand to any community striving for sustainable development, understanding the special characteristics of each community and the local resources at hand.