Part of the Artisan project is to plant 500 artisanal plants for the artisans in the Peninsula. Throughout my internship I have been collecting and cultivating the plants that I have been studying. Now that I have built up a good amount of species and plants, the next step will be to find places where we can plant them.
Most of the species I have can be used in artisanal gardens. We are hoping to plant some gardens in Pedasi, Valleriquito, Las Tablas, Paritilla, and Bajo Corral. Some of the towns like Pedasi and Bajo Corral have parks in which we might be able to plant. In Paritilla, there is already a community garden in which we could plant. Most of the places are hypothetical, but we have a few parcels planned out already.
In Tonosi, there is an agricultural school called IPTA. Sandra made connections with them when she visited the school as part of our education initiative. They have a parcel next to the river that needs to me reforested to prevent erosion. Sandra and I drove out there on Wednesday July 10th to look at the parcel. It is a very large parcel, big enough to fit more than 500 plants. After some discussion Sandra and I decided to do some artisanal plants here, but not all of them. We will have to mix some non-artisanal trees in there as well. The parcel has the potential to grow Junco because it has a river near it, but I worry that the current is too strong and the Junco will not be able to grow large enough if the river keeps changing and shifting.
The parcel itself may not be very accessible to the artisans we have been working with in the workshops, but it is a good way to connect with the younger generation. The students of the agricultural school will be in charge of planting and maintaining the artisanal plants. It will help pass knowledge down to the younger generations. Perhaps we could do a workshop with the students to teach them the use of each of the plants, so they can understand their importance.
Another parcel we have planned is a piece of land in Valleriquito. The same day Sandra and I visited Tonosi, we also stopped by Valleriquito to investigate the idea of planting an artisanal garden in the school. We wandered around the school for a bit looking for the Peace Corps volunteer, Tonya. We ended up running into the principal in the middle of her search. We discussed putting a garden in the school and set up a meeting with the agricultural teacher for the following Monday.
On Monday, Sandra, Sebastian, and I drove up to the school for the meeting. Sebastian is the new intern for the Eco-Artisan Project. He is focusing on the business aspect and wants to help the artisans come up with a better plan to sell their handicrafts. We met with the agriculture teacher and discussed which plants we would plant in the parcel and how they would be planted. We chose a day in early August to reforest with four students from the school, which I will not be able to attend.
It was really encouraging to see where my plants will be planted and hear plans for the future. I hope that they will be able to connect with more sites and be able to plant all the trees and plants that I have grown. I made a planting plan for Sandra and Sebastian, so they have an idea of what to do when I leave. I am excited to see where the project goes!