Summer in Nicaragua

Chac watertower

This past summer I spent a month in a farming community called Chacresecra in Leon, Nicaragua. I lived with a host family and volunteered at organic school gardens with 12 other interns through a non-profit organization called the Global Student Embassy. Though cliche to say, this experience changed my life. I miss my host family frequently and have caught the travel bug. While abroad in Nicaragua I kept a journal to record what I was experiencing and learning about sustainable agriculture. The following is my first journal entry from June 24, 2014. It was my first day volunteering at the Alberto school garden in Charcresecra.
Today I learned so much! First of all, the type of farming we are promoting is biointensive farming. There are 8 principles/steps. Three that I got to do today are double digging, composting, and planting. The double digging consists of cutting into the soil 30 centimeters then loosening the soil another 30 centimeters while stirring up the soil. Then you add fertilizer and stir up the soil again. Double digging aerates and improves the soil. Today I helped make my very first compost pile! First, you put down dirt, then a layer of dry weeds/vegetation, a layer of greens (long leafy plants), add dirt again, and then water. (Repeat until the square is full). We didn’t plant today but did some weeding. Interesting tips – only plant in hexagons or triangles. Also use live cactus as a living fence. Composting – squares decompose into an entire row and takes about 3 months. We are trying to set an example to the community and school children. The school children (some only I think only in 1st grade or kindergarten) helped us today. I also planted a papaya tree! I’m becoming very aware about conserving water and waste. Especially water – comes from Leon every other day. Did some watering at the Alberto garden today. Each day is getting better and better!

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