The idea behind the project
At the moment, "la huerta" [the garden] is still mainly a building site with a small garden located in Pacheco, north of Buenos Aires. However, there are big plans for the future. The idea is to create a garden for young people to spend time in, learn new things and be involved in a community. There are two villas [= poor neighbourhoods] about 10quaters away. Youngsters from those areas are a target group. In the future, there should be the opportunity to borrow equipment for gardening, so that they can be used elsewhere. This will also be a chance for youngsters to earn some money with helping out in other gardens.
"La huerta" should also function as an example garden for other organisations so they can replicate it in their own grounds. Workshops and lectures would be taught here, and different methods of gardening could be tried out and viewed.
There should also be a plant production, where other projects could get seedlings for free. Just as a little info: in Argentina you can't just buy tomato plants or herbs in a supermarket, as you could in Germany or Switzerland. There are shops that only sell seeds, or some garden centres where you could buy seedlings. However the selection is very limited and it seems to be a lot harder to get seedlings. An accommodation for future volunteers is also being built, as the idea is that future volunteers will help to maintain the garden, work with the young people and there is a lot of place for more ideas.
Pacheco is outside the city of Buenos Aires and it takes about two hours to get to the project. I use the underground and a bus and walk 10min. The neighbourhood around the project is pretty safe. There are mainly houses with big gardens, some used as holiday homes. As a rough guess there are two dogs per house. Some of them have secret holes in the fence to get in and out.
The project is funded by Voluntario Global. When a volunteer donates, part of the money is spent in the project they are working for, on sustaining Voluntario Global and some is saved for bigger long-term projects like this one. A great project that was started with the money saved is "The Laundry Project". This is a laundry shop, where young people from the neighborhood can work and study at the same time. The shifts are shorter than they would normally be so they can accommodate this with their university schedule. This makes it possible to work and study at the same time, which is very important for many young people here.
At the moment I spend two days a week in the project and some more time for research at home. In January, when the changing rooms are finished, I will spend more time there and organise some events. My task now is to make a plan for the future layout of the garden. I am also responsible to make a list of plants that includes how much sunlight is needed, which family they belong to, and how they are best planted. Ideally. The idea is to give explanations from sawing over growing up to the harvest. It is not yet clear wether that is possible within the given time and also the graphics that would be necessary.