Worldwide, in first- and third-world countries, the lack of convenient, regular, affordable, and nutritious food is a huge issue. Every donor and volunteer in a position to help NWI knows the story about giving fish vs. teaching people to fish. Could NWI teach Naco residents to garden?
The residents responded with an overwhelming, enthusiastic, “Si!” Naco schools wanted gardens of their own. Everyone needed everything anyone would need to start a garden: Tools, seeds, soil enrichment, irrigation, and lessons. NWI started writing new grant requests. Soon, school and family gardens bloomed all over the Colosio, Naco’s poorest neighborhood.
Covid wrecked Naco’s normal food supply. Residents were suddenly hungry and in danger. A community garden was required. It should provide maximum crop production and long-term sustainability, Naco residents, NWI staffers, and the NWI Board of Directors decided.
The San Jose Organic Community Garden was completed in two years. Halfway through Year One, the first harvest fed hundreds of people. In 2022, the completed garden fed more than 1,200 during harvests.
Increased production of more nutrient-dense produce will continue to be the primary focus of the garden, as Naco Wellness works to help more and more residents reduce diabetes, cardiovascular, and other diseases
By employing three-year crop rotation cycles, intensified cover cropping, intercropping, microbial composting, and organic mulching, NWI will continue to make substantial soil improvements.
In the near future, San Jose Garden will increase harvest outputs of vine crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, and peas by using newly installed 10-foot steel trellises to grow them vertically.
NWI is committed to encouraging more Naco residents to begin gardening, and to sharing its garden development and wellness efforts with every interested person in Naco and surrounding Mexican communities.
Green House & Vertical Gardening
In February 2023, thousands of spring seedlings were started in the greenhouse. They are now in the garden. Seeds for the garden’s summer crop will get their start in the greenhouse soon.
Gardening in an arid environment works best when “best practice” water conservation methods are used. Even when NWI’s Home Gardens program started 10 year ago, NWI offered all gardeners the best irrigation technology possible. NWI also teaches home gardeners to construct home rainwater capture systems to conserve this most precious resource.
Soil health is defined as the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans. It is key to productive agriculture.
The San Jose Organic Community Garden is a field research site for Arizona State University’s Global Resolve Program, studying climate change effects in arid and semiarid ecosystems. To collect data, ASU students installed a high-tech Davis Instrument weather station at the garden.
Worm Farm & Soil Food Web
What is the Soil Food Web? It amounts to taking good care of what’s going on underground – the root system development and all that goes with that – so that what you see above ground is as nutritious as possible.
Harvesting Healthy Lives
Developing our gardens impacts more than our harvest. It impacts the lives around us across both sides of the border. Are you interested in volunteering? Join us today and be a part of building healthy lives.