Harvesting Food Security (Year One): Rainwater Harvesting & Family Gardens

Contact name: Rebecca Singer
Email: info@coffeekids.org
Phone: 773.549.2653
Project URL: www.coffeekids.org
Organization Name: Coffee Kids

Project: Harvesting Food Security (Year One): Rainwater Harvesting & Family Gardens
Location: Mexico
Additional information on location of project: in the city of Veracruz
Projected Impact: 40 participating families

Project Description
The Harvesting Food Security Project addresses food insecurity in four rural communities in Veracruz, Mexico. Over the course of three years, the project provides training in water provisioning, vegetable harvesting, and egg production, as well as the construction of rainwater harvesting systems. It establishes an integrated and self-sustaining food production system that can be replicated throughout the region.

The project will form a regional network for sustainable agriculture and responsible water management that will help families across the Totonac region of Veracruz, Mexico. The project will also help to improve their nutrition, mitigate the negative effects of climate change, and substantially reduce food insecurity.

2014 is the first year of the project and during this year the project will build Adaptive Rainwater Harvesting Systems (SACALL) that will facilitate year-round access to water for roughly 40 families. This system was developed by our partner, ASER MAIZ, specifically with the needs of the communities where they work in mind. Participating families will also plant family vegetable gardens and learn how to grow their own food, utilizing the water harvested through the rainwater systems for irrigation during the dry season.

The SACALL system will be constructed through two stages of mano vuelta, also known as turn of hand or community labor exchange. Each participant is responsible for covering half of the total costs of each system, and all of the participants will also provide the manual labor necessary to build each system. In the first stage, 20 of the 40 participating families will receive the funds, materials, and technical advice necessary to set up their backyard rainwater harvesting systems. The remaining 20 families will help the first group construct their SACALL systems. In stage two, the first group will reciprocate the mano vuelta, helping the second group set up their SACALL systems.

Furthermore, each participant will receive a seed package containing seeds for various heirloom vegetables. Participants will save their seeds after harvest and exchange them with other communities during ASER MAIZ’s annual seed exchange in October of 2014.

Over the course of the project, ASER MAIZ will record the process of building the SACALL system and will make a how-to manual that will be available to the public. This guide will also include information on good water management practices that can be put to use with their new SACALL systems.

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