Jocotenango Garden of Hope
Jocotenango Garden of Hope is a 1-acre teaching garden in the Guatemala Highlands. The project will enhance this Permaculture School Garden for accessibility and education by improving the edible perennial landscape, growing more food for the community and providing wheelchair access.
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 three years. Salina is a PINA diploma candidate, working with Field Advisor Kelda Lorax. She works on the Garden of Hope with Maria Jose, an artist and human rights activist, and Francisca Perez, a native and medicinal plant expert and creative cook.
The Garden of Hope 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 an after-school gardening club with students from neighborhood schools. They provide permaculture classes and workshops to approximately 600 children monthly, and host monthly community days and do community outreach.
Community Development Design Narrative- Garden of Hope
Calle del Cementerio Final, Zona 3, Jocotenango, Sacatepequez, Antigua, Guatemala 03001, Latitude: 14°34’19.56″ Longitude: -90°44’45.96″
By: The Garden of Hope Team – Salina Duncan, Francisca Maxima Perez, Maria Jose Gomez Lima
Mission: Garden of Hope is a productive, welcoming, and safe space where the community can connect with nature, foster joy, and learn together.
To improve the edible perennial landscape
To grow nutritious and delicious food in community.
To make our space more inclusive and accessible to all visitors. This year we began partnering with a private inclusive school, Brillo de Sol, where several students use wheel chairs.
The Garden of Hope space is located 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 an 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 two 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 host monthly community days for the whole family as well as community outreach through school consultations on garden-to-kitchen and composting efforts.
We started developing the garden in December 2016. The original land was a coffee field with both rosalinia and roya, which affect coffee, many perennial plants, 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, plus a kitchen, chicken house, shed, and compost area.
In 2020, we would like to upgrade and detail our design so the garden is clearly a demonstration for visiting groups.
These additions and upgrades will make our space more efficient to work in, more comfortable for our students, and more accessible to volunteers and visitors. We hope to host our first PDC in 2020.
Infrastructure Upgrade- Garden of Hope (GoH) 2020
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 March-July 2020. The following numbers correspond to the numbers on the attached design.
Total for 3 projects- $3,000
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 store supplies and prepare for classes. $1400
4) Soil amendments, rebuilding of beds around the Zone 1 kitchen area, and expansion of main pathways so they are wheelchair accessible. Our garden-to-kitchen programs have been expanding and we would like to improve this area, by adding a medicinal herb bed and informational signs. – $400
6) Partial shelter for the Outdoor Classroom – $1,200. We already have a pavilion where our classes take place, but if it’s rainy or windy, it can be difficult to work there. We would like to enclose two sides, and add a wood platform for a floor. This would also give us a place to build shelving to store materials for classes.
The Garden of Hope Team Bio
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 three years. She strives to design programs that are inclusive and easily accessible to all community members.
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 seven years of environmental education and farming experience. She loves gardening as a way to facilitate humans’ natural desire to connect with nature. Claire 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.
Francisca Perez grew up on the east coast of Guatemala, and relocated to the Azotea farm 18 years ago when her husband secured work there. She is a native and medicinal plant expert, and gained her valuable knowledge from her mother (who visits us from time to time from the coast.) Francisca has lived her life practicing “garden to kitchen.” She is a creative cook and her food is not only delicious, but healing. Francisca loves chickens and cares for ours as if they were children of her own. https://www.facebook.com/Gardenofhopegt/
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.