After completing his 2006 MESA internship, Ruben Huaman took the GROW BIOINTENSIVE™ method back to his home in Choquecancha, a poor, rural community in the highlands of Cuzco, Peru. Through hands-on workshops, Ruben teaches young farmers, especially women, how to grow vegetables organically. In a region where few local people have diversified, nutrient-dense diets, the project emphasizes the importance of eating vegetables. Radishes, sweet chard, beets, celery, spinach, zucchini, Andean potatoes, parsley, coriander, lettuce, and red onion are all grown on the 5-hectar demonstration plot. With modest funding from MESA, the Choquecancha GROW BIOINTENSIVE™ Project has impacted 155 families. Besides serving as an educational space, the demonstration plot composts excess crop vegetables for use on community farms. After receiving training and mentoring in the U.S., Ruben now contributes to the success of local farmers who learn high-yield, organic production. The National Association of Ecological Producers of Peru (ANPE-PERU) provides technical assistance for the Choquecancha Project and the town council of nearby Lares, has offered its support.
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