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Mi Huerta Program

Self-sustainable educational program through which Argentine children in vulnerable rural areas ensure their access to healthy organic food.

Photo of Fundación Huerta Niño
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*Please Upload User Experience Map (as attachment) and any additional Beneficiary Feedback in this field

Beneficiary feedback videos (in Spanish). Grateful if you could devote a few minutes to see our users and beneficiaries in action describing the changes in the children´s nutrition and wellbeing, despite of the language. Testimonies of school directors of the provinces of Chaco, Corrientes, Catamarca, Santa Fe, Buenos Aires. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gfexp7YBeYY https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGCWTX0dAK0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNp0mI2aNxA

Explain your project idea in two sentences.

Mi Huerta Program aims to alleviate child hunger and malnutrition in Argentina through the construction of organic community gardens in rural schools in the most disadvantaged areas of the country.

What is your organization name? Explain your organization in one sentence.

Huerta Niño Foundation is a non-profit working to alleviate malnutrition in Argentina since 1999.

Is this project idea new for you or your organization? If no, how much have you already executed on?

The project is in course of implementation. Mi Huerta Program has already benefited 33,600 children in over 400 communities in Argentina enhancing nutrition, education, local development and social cohesion from a territorial approach.

What is the problem you aim to solve with this idea? How would you define this problem as urgent and a priority in your target community?

The typical rural diet, mainly comprised by carbohydrates, produces severe nutritional imbalances and consequently, critical limitations for the integral development of children, leading to irreversible and avoidable damages. Most critical consequences are shown in isolated rural areas.

What is the timeline for your project idea? What are the key steps for implementation in the next 1-3 years?

FHN has surveyed more than 600 schools interested in participating in the program pending funding. FHN plans to build 200 new gardens by 2018 and to reach 1000 active projects in two more years, benefiting 100,000 children. A regionalization strategy is in progress, in articulation with provincial and national ministries, through the establishment of provincial nodes in areas of greater food criticality, which would lead to an exponential increase in the number of communities benefited.

Describe the individual or team that will implement this idea (if a partnership, please explain breakdown of responsibility).

Mi Huerta Program is implemented by the FHN Team (12 staff + volunteers) in partnership with school authorities and parents, community members and local actors and with the technical support of the National Institute of Agriculture Technology (INTA) in territory.

What do you need the most support with in this project idea?

  • Business Development/Partnerships

What is your primary goal over the next 6 weeks of Refinement?

  • Iterate or improve on my product/service

How do you currently measure (or plan to measure) results for this project?

The project is institutionalized and maintreams the school curriculum, impacting on the children`s diet and on the educational quality. First result is the change in the school menu submitted by the school director (from a limited serve mainly comprised of carbohidrates to a nutritionally diversified menu) + # children impacted + # active gardens + # families replicating the initiative at home + # daily meals + #FHN trainings and interventions of local techs + children weight and height measures

How has your project proposal changed due to your user research during the Beneficiary Feedback Phase?

During the phase we were glad and proud to confirm that our efforts and development of specific solutions for each territory in which we operate is the key of our success. In the past weeks we engaged with rural school directors of different areas of the country (different climates, soils and access to water) to once more confirm the sustainabilty and the profound social changes we achieve.

(Optional) What are some of your still unanswered questions or concerns about this idea?

Mi Huerta is a so far successful idea with enormous potential to keep addressing the critical scourge of hunger and malnutrition in a country with untapped resources to feed its children. The expansion of the agricultural frontier failed to respond to a comprehensive territorial program that took into account the needs of thousands of peasant families (our beneficiaries). The program fosters the revalue of traditional rural knowledge and tackles forced migration.

Context:

According to recent surveys, 35% of Argentine children live in homes with Unsatisfied Basic Needs. Of these homes, 53.4% receive food subsidies for their children. In the poorest provinces in the North of Argentina (Formosa, Chaco, Corrientes and Misiones) the percentage of children in homes below the Line of Poverty is 77.2%. In the Northwest (Salta, Santiago del Estero, Jujuy and Tucumán) the proportion is 75.7%.  Huerta Niño has prioritized its work in these two regions with the goal of reducing hunger and malnutrition in children of school age.

One out of four Argentine children (26.6%) eat once a day, at the schools dining hall. 

Description of Mi Huerta Program:

The Mi Huerta program, started in 1999 and consolidated in 2003 with the creation of the Huerta Niño Foundation, is an initiative of the Belgian-Argentinean innovator Felipe Lobert, whose objective is to alleviate child hunger and malnutrition in Argentina through the construction of organic community gardens in rural schools in the most disadvantaged areas of the country.

Felipe designed a sustainable and transferable solution to the scourge of hunger in Argentina, allowing thousands of children and their families access a healthy diet of agroecological and self-sustaining production by means of a successful educational program.

Huerta Niño foundation trains communities to build a vegetable garden and a greenhouse on the school grounds. Garden products supply the school dining halls, where children receive their daily meals. The program promotes food security (rooted in the National Food Security Plan) for the population in a situation of structural poverty by providing training and resources for self-production of nutritious food. The foundation works in partnership with locally-based technicians of Pro-Huerta, a program of the Argentine State within the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) that fosters community agriculture to achieve food sovereignity in underpriviledged areas of the country. 

The garden not only address an urgent nutritional challenge but also mainstreams the curriculum and plays a key role in school subjects, thus being an element and a complement to learning and knowledge. The startup and building of the garden, the fundamentals of agroecological food production and the knowledge on healthy nutrition are incorporated into the daily learning not only as an extraprogramatic content but also as support for the development of regular disciplines: Natural Sciences (self-explanatory); Language (listening, understanding , writing, recording of information by direct observation); Mathematics / Geometry(measurement and calculation of perimeters, volumes and proportions of perimeter fences, vegetable beds); Social Sciences (revaluation of the rural environment and recovery of local knowledge, early notions of methodology and project cycle). Ethical axis: assessment of natural resources, creative imagination, attitude of cooperation, solidarity and responsible dedication. 

Community school gardens proved to be a versatile and sustainable solution; are in themselves a source of nutrition, training, social development and land protection. The innovation is based on the recovery of a lost culture to which it is imperative to return to, towards ensuring sustenance in contexts of inequality and exclusion: the cultivation of land, the preservation of environment and the recovery cultural heritage. 

Children are educated in the values of their culture and identity as the gardens are inserted in the community and appropriated by their protagonists (parents, teachers and neigbours) and the environment, fostering development from a territorial approach.

The Program has consolidated with presence in hundreds of Argentine rural schools, constituing itself a sustainable and replicable educational program to combat the endemic scourges of hunger and malnutrition in Argentina.

By March 2017, Huerta Niño Foundation has developed more than 400 school garden projects throughout Argentina, benefiting more than 32,000 children and their families.

The first garden, established in 1999 in El Aguará (Chaco Province) is still up and running, giving testimony of the sustainability of our project:

Aguará, 2006:


Aguará, 2016:


Grant funds would be used to:

Scalate the impact of the Mi Huerta Program:

The organization has more than 400 active projects. The potential impact is demonstrated by the growth in the number of children benefited from the first garden to 32,200 at present. The replication of the experience can be immediate since the processes are systematized and are adaptable to all the communities of the Argentine territory, regardless of their climatic and geographical conditions.

FHN has surveyed more than 600 schools interested in participating in the program pending funding. FHN plans to build 200 new gardens by 2018 and to reach 1000 active projects in two more years, benefiting 100,000 children. 

A regionalization strategy is in progress, in articulation with provincial and national ministries, through the establishment of provincial nodes in areas of greater food criticaliity, which would allow an exponential increase in the number of communities benefited.

Boost research and desing of a program on access to safe water:

FHN is currently conducting a research and desingning a new program to ease access to safe water and sanitation in the most disadvantaged rural areas of Argentina: water harvesting , proper management, sustainable use and healthy consumption. Funds would be invested to further develop this essential -so far successful- program.

Strengthen evaluation and impact measurement processes of the Mi Huerta Program: 

Funds would also contribute to develop an ongoing evaluation and impact assessment study carried out by the foundation to improve and quantify the value of what we do for Argentine children.

Explain your idea

Mi Huerta Program comes within the paramount line of action in the Declarations of the World Summit on Food Security (Rome, 2009) "ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality" while manifestly addressing key 2030 SDGs: End of Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Wellbeing, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Clean Water and Sanitation, being Zero Hunger the primary focus of our efforts. The innovative nature of the project is to have revalued the model of rural garden to ensure food sovereignity and strengthen education in rural areas. It is developed over the entire schooling, guaranteeing solidity of knowledge and new dietary patterns acquired by children and their families. Garden workshops integrate the pedagogical proposal of extension of school day in rural regions, contributing to fulfill the national strategy for the regulation of Article Nº28 of the National Education Law Nº 26206/2006. The project drives a new sustainable and replicable organic production strategy, which is successfully solving a critical need. It observes the following innovative characteristics: Organic: free of pesticides production, using high quality seeds and conservation techniques (production of fertilizers from organic waste and biological control of pests and diseases). Health is protected, care is taken to safeguard the environment and natural resources (soil preservation, responsible use of water). Sustainable: the garden produces its own inputs and self-supply."It is built in a year and lasts a lifetime". Generation of seeds and fertilizer production self-feeds the orchard ensuring sustainability. Nutritional: reverses chronic malnutrition and favors the intellectual and harmonious development of children. Replicable: offers students and families a natural and simple way to learn how to cultivate land by taking advantage of the 5-7 years of primary schooling. Sustainable livelihoods: Enables production of nutritious food, promotes the replication of the model at home for sustainable livelihoods, offers the female head of household and the one who is temporarily alone (due to the itinerant characteristics of work in the rural areas) means to obtain sustenance through a productive alternative of low effort. Cohesive: stimulates initiative, inducing the school community to take ownership of the project, promotes a culture of utilization of available resources thus giving an alternative to forced migration, origin to the uprooting, loss of identity and rupture of social ties.

Who Benefits?

The program has impact on vulnerable communities. Direct beneficiaries to date are 32200 children in school age, impacting on 8050 families. The systematic impact that the implementation of the model would have on all rural schools in the country interested in adopting it would be a significant improvement in the nutrition of children and adolescents in Argentina, raising levels of individual and collective development. The project protects health fostering care of the environment and natural resources while strengthening rural identity. FHN has surveyed more than 600 schools interested in participating in the program pending funding. FHN plans to build 200 new gardens by 2018 and to reach 1000 active projects in two more years, benefiting 100,000 children. A regionalization strategy is in progress through the establishment of provincial nodes in areas of greater food criticality, which would allow an exponential increase in the number of communities benefited.

How is your idea unique?

The innovative nature of the project is to have revalued the model of rural garden to ensure food sovereignity and strengthened environmental care and education in rural areas. It is developed over the entire schooling, guaranteeing solidity of knowledge and new dietary patterns acquired by children and their families. As explained, garden workshops integrate the pedagogical proposal of extension of school day in rural regions, contributing to fulfill the national strategy for the implementation of Article Nº28 of the National Education Law Nº 26206/2006. We are proud to say that garden workshops are the preferred extraprogramatic choice of the school teachers to request extension of school days. The project drives a new sustainable and replicable organic production strategy, which is successfully solving critical needs in health and nutrition, education, mitigation of climate change and sustainable livelihoods in extremely underpriviledged areas.

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Full-scale roll-out: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the users I am trying to reach with my idea. I am ready to expand the pilot significantly.

Tell us more about you

FHN is a non profit with headquarters in Buenos Aires and operations in the whole Argentine territory. FHN projects are based in all regions of Argentina, with special focus on the Northwest and Northeast regions, that show the most alarming food criticality and Unsatisfied Basic Needs. The extensive trajectory of Huerta Niño in onsite work has provided us with the necessary knowledge to address the regions sociocultural diversity. Regardless of this, we work in articulation with local INTA’s Pro-Huerta Program technicians (INTA: Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria). This program depends on the Ministry of Social Development, key articulation for the success of the project Huerta Niño. Agricultural technicians working onsite are the experts and therefore play a key role in the successful execution of trainings in the rural communities. They are responsible for distributing the seeds and delivering training in the production of vegetables in the local development agencies, accomplishing the replicability of the initiative in the community. Huerta Niño and ProHuerta not only complement but also potentiate each other.

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

7 comments

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Spam
Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi @Fundacion Huerta Nino!

I look forward to seeing your responses to the expert feedback. The deadline for responses is Friday 11:50 pm Pacific Time.

Spam
Photo of Fundación Huerta Niño
Team

Hi Kate! We are working on our responses and will get back to you very soon.
Many thanks for your kind remider.

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