Our combined outreach of an organic gardening program and consultancy service seeks to unite the community around nature and its produce. We encourage our students to explore their right to healthy organic produce and clean air/water, and to realize the importance of knowing how to grow their own food, plus the value of teamwork. For our consulting clients we provide green program training, as well as an opportunity to invest in a community and environment in need, nurturing humanity’s inherent connection with nature.
Our goal is to run the Garden of Hope as a social business by 2020. We sell our produce and provide consulting services locally to run the Garden of Hope space, and to keep it accessible and free for at-risk youth in the Jocotenango community. To do so, we partner with the Education for the Children Foundation and their School of Hope (http://www.eftc.org.uk/).
Our curriculum is based around the principles of permaculture while supplementing students’ math and science classes. Nutrition, cooking and art activities also are integral parts of our program. Participants in the Garden of Hope are given an opportunity to learn outside of the classroom and receive more individual attention. They get their hands dirty; they learn experientially; they're a part of a team, and they find a sense of purpose from their hard work.
The Garden of Hope started as a side project of the School of Hope in Jocotenango, Guatemala. The School of Hope is run by the Education for the Children Foundation, an international NGO that provides a quality education and a various wrap-around services for more than 600 underprivileged children in Jocotenango. Children at the School of Hope come from a variety of compromised backgrounds. Many suffer from various forms of abuse, neglect and malnourishment.
The Garden of Hope began in 2014 and hosted it's first 25 primary school students from the School of Hope in 2015. Starting in 2018, the Garden of Hope will work with students of all ages at the EFTC’s School of Hope. We run after-school programs with primary school students, volunteer days with middle schoolers and job training internships for the School of Hope’s scholarship student program. Our programs cater to children of various ages and ability levels, and serve many purposes to Jocotenango. In the Garden of Hope, children have the opportunity to experience the outdoors in a safe and clean environment, which is extremely difficult to come across in this community.
The children learn how to grow their own organic veggies; they also work with professional nutritionists and local artists to further enjoy the beautiful outdoors and the fruits of their labor. When it’s time to harvest, we eat our own food or sell it to the community. All of the money from our sales goes back to maintaining our garden.