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Gardens on exchange

A system of private gardens that produce differents vegetables and fruits that are exchanged between neighbors.

Photo of Luz Gallo
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Most of the low-income communities in Colombia are consequence of the forced displacement.The people that come to live here are, in most of the cases, farmers that had to leave their farms to come to a safer place.

What if we used the farmers skills to optimize the ground benefits? What if this farmers learn about a healthy alimentation and start to produce this goods to contribute to a healthy life style?

Gardens on exchange takes advantage of the skills of the community members to create a system of private garden. The word private is used to indicate that each garden is maintain by the owner of the house in which it is sowed.

The plus of this project is that, once each garden starts to produce, the people will start to exchange their products with the ones of their neighbors so they can eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

The products that couldn’t be exchanged, are left for sale to the people that don’t have their own garden but want to eat fresh vegetables and fruits.

Also, during the project, the people that are involved are going to receive nutritional education to help them to “spread the word” and apply the “healthy style of life” into their lifes. 

How do you envision this idea making money?

Even if the people that plant the gardens have to invest on the seeds and materials to build them, this investment will be return once the garden start to produce. The profit that they will earn will be destined to maintain the gardens and buy more seeds. Also, to include more people in the project, the first materials can be donated and the profit will be destined to the project as well.

How does this idea create social impact, particularly around improving health?

The farmers that have to leave their lands have a lot knowledge in this ground. A project like this, will give them the opportunity to practice their skills and feel useful to the society. Also is will create a social impact among the whole community because they will be teaching, even indirectly, good nutritional habits through their products and their every day conversation. Also, it is needed people from different specialties: nutritionists, farmers, managers etc. That will nourish the community with different kinds knowledge.

How does this idea add social value at every step of the process?

This project is meant to grow exponentially. At every step, more people and more skills are needed to achieve it. At first, the raw materials are donated and the project manager will distributed them to the people. The project manager will be also incharged of supervising the products exchange and the evolution of the gardens. The people that want to participate but don’t know how to grow a garden will receive previous classes from the people that know, before starting the activity. When farmers start to grow the products in the gardens, the nutritional education will start with weekly or monthly classes. The social value is added at every step of the process because people will depend on others to continue being part of this project and to get new knowledge to optimize the resources needed.

What are the short term steps we could take to implement this idea tomorrow?

Map all the people that are willing to have a garden on their house. •See which people know about agriculture and can teach the ones that doesn’t know. • Finding possible sponsors for the raw materials. •Find a project manager(s) to supervise the evolution of the project.


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