In April 2020 we realized that the women who seemed to be coping the best with the layered hardships brought on by COVID-19 were those who had their own food sources. With this knowledge in mind we turned to our En Vía community for support and decided to launch Growing Strong. Due to the generosity of 417 donors we were able to gift a total of 154 women materials to either start their own vegetable garden or their own chicken farm.
The Details of Growing Strong
One hundred and six women chose chicken farms and forty eight women chose vegetable gardens. The materials for the chicken farms consisted of 10 chickens, one 40kg package of feed, and feeder and drinker arrangements. The women who chose to have vegetable gardens had the option to elect between two different resource packets depending on their irrigation systems. Both resource packets consisted of 13 seed species, 1 Kilogram of nitrogenase for composting, 8 packets of manure and various irrigation supports depending on their needs. Many of our participants reported that they felt their involvement with Growing Strong significantly contributed to reduced anxieties related to food insecurity during the height of the pandemic.
Short Term Project→ Permanent Program
One year after the launch of Growing Strong we recognized the great success of the project so we decided to convert the project into one of En Vía’s regular programs. In addition to addressing immediate food insecurity our new and expanded program provides our entrepreneurs with the opportunity to turn their chicken farm and vegetable garden projects into additional streams of income. Participants of staying strong received 50 chickens and more in depth courses pertaining to everything from proper chicken care, to how and where to sell their eggs at. Twenty four women are currently involved in Growing Strong; eight women have vegetable gardens, and eighteen have chicken farms. We are thankful for the consistent progress Growing Strong is making and are excited to open up the program to more women in the future.