Garden of Hope

Salina Duncan

Garden of Hope, Guatemalan urban teaching garden –  Located in the Guatemalan highlands, the design adds capacity to a shared garden that yields food for the community and teaches 600 children monthly by building a composting toilet, seed and herb work space, therapy garden, kitchen roof, water catchment and irrigation system,  shelter and playground on a 1-acre communal site.

Salina Duncan has over 10 years experience working in health, education, and community development with an emphasis on food and water security.  She has worked with the Garden of Hope for 2-1/2 years.  Salina is a PINA diploma candidate, working with Field Advisor Kelda Lorax.

The Garden of Hope space occupies a 1-acre piece of land on the Finca Azotea farm in an urban neighborhood in Jocotenango, Guatemala. Loaned to a group of teachers to be used for after-school gardening club activities with students from neighborhood schools, they started developing the garden in December 2016. 



Design Narrative- Garden of Hope: by The Garden of Hope Team

Mission: Garden of Hope is a productive, welcoming, and safe space where the community can connect with nature, foster joy, and learn together.


To follow the permaculture principles.
To provide nutritious and delicious food to the community.
To use water efficiently through water storage, conservation, and reuse.

The Garden of Hope space occupies a 1-acre piece of land on the Finca Azotea farm in an urban neighborhood in Jocotenango, Guatemala. The land was loaned to a group of teachers to be used for after school gardening club with students from neighborhood schools. We are in a unique position where we have the security and resources (horse manure, leaves, coffee pulp, organics from 2 school kitchens) provided by the farm, while being physically accessible to the community.

We provide permaculture classes and workshops to approximately 600 children monthly, including environmental action clubs at two schools, a seed exchange, and garden-to-kitchen sessions focusing on native plants.

We started developing the garden in December 2016. The original land was a coffee field with both rosalinia and roya, which affect coffee, many perennials, and large trees. We have removed many of the dead trees and have replaced them with sensory, mixed herb and vegetable gardens, banana circles, and herb spirals. We have built a pavilion as our outdoor classroom, a kitchen, chicken house, shed, and compost area.

In 2019, we would like to add some features to the garden including a compost toilet, floor, and partial wall to the pavilion to protect against rain and wind entry during classes, a structure for drying herbs and cleaning seeds, a small playground, and seating areas in the future food forest.

These additions will make our space more comfortable for our students and more efficient for hosting volunteers and visitors. We hope to host a future PDC and to become a center for permaculture in Antigua, Guatemala.


Calle del Cementerio Final, Zona 3, Jocotenango, Sacatepequez, Antigua, Guatemala 03001, Latitude14°34’19.56″ Longitude: -90°44’45.96″

Phase 2 Infrastructure- Garden of Hope (GoH) 2019

Labor – Two of our partner schools have carpentry classes and the students would appreciate the opportunity to practice their skills while earning a wage for their work. The farm staff, with whom we collaborate on a daily basis, were raised in a building culture of natural and recycled material. The GoH staff consists of three teachers and short-term volunteers. We would play the role of assistants and contract a farm employee to guide the building.

The costs are rough estimates and include materials, transport of materials, and labor. If funding is awarded, implementation would take place from April-June 2019. The following numbers correspond to the numbers on the attached design.

1) Compost Toilet- $700. We do not have a bathroom on site. The closest bathroom is about a 10 minute walk from the garden, which is difficult when teachers have classes because students are not allowed to walk alone through the farm.

2) Seed and Herb Work Space- This will be one large work space for drying herbs, cleaning seeds, and displaying the seed library. It will also include a teacher area to keep supplies and prepare for classes. $1400

3) Therapy Garden Surrounded by Food Forest- $700. -This area was inspired by one of our partner schools, Education for the Children Foundation. The school provides therapy sessions to students who have recently experienced trauma in their lives. The school is at capacity and a quiet space for sessions is difficult to find. The therapy garden will be a quiet, relaxing place for visitors to enjoy nature, but also a place for EFTC to hold small group and individual therapy sessions. This will be an aromatic garden with pathways lined with herbs and berries to snack on.

4) Roof Attachment to kitchen- $600. A kitchen was built last year, but it is lacking a covered outdoor area for the wood burning oven and to cover tables during the rainy season.

5) Water Catchment and Irrigation System- $800. All of our watering is done by hand. We have one water tank located near the kitchen, which is filled upon request by the farm’s well and a small rainwater tank. The pressure is too low to use a hose and sometimes there is a shortage of water on the farm during the dry season. It rains a lot from June-October, so we’re hoping to build a water efficient storage and irrigation system.

6) Partial shelter for the Outdoor Classroom- $1,200. We currently have a pavilion where our classes take place, but if it’s rainy or windy it’s difficult to work. We would like to partially enclose two sides and add a wood platform for a floor. It would also give us a place to build shelving to store materials for classes.

7) Playground- $200
Total- $5,600. We have the remaining funding of $600 secured.

The Garden of Hope Team Bio


We are a small group of friends who came together through the Garden of Hope. We are teachers and students. We share the same ethics. We learn, create, and grow together with our community. 

Salina Duncan has over 10 years experience working in the areas of health, education, and community development with an emphasis on food and water security.. Salina completed her PDC in 2017 and has been working with Garden of Hope for the past 2 ½ years. She strives to create spaces that are available to everyone.

Claire founded the Garden of Hope in 2015 as a way to bring equal access to safe green spaces to students of all ages in the community of Jocotenango, Guatemala. She has over 7 years of environmental education and farming experience. She loves gardening as a way to facilitate humans’ natural desire to connect with nature. Claire currently works in Denver, CO as a child advocate.

Maria Jose is an artist and human rights activist. She discovered alternative education options at a young age and strives to bring learning opportunities to all children in her community. What she loves most about working outside is that it’s a space where creativity and the earth come together.

Instagram- gardenof hope

If you are interested in supporting the Garden of Hope, donations can be made through Together We Can Guatemala, a US registered 501c3.