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Kat, Anni, and Tim are graduate students getting their MSBA in Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise at Colorado State University. They will be constructing aquaponic systems in Lima, Peru to test the feasibility of such systems to feed malnourished communities in arid cities. They plan to show that aquaponics can provide fresh, organic vegetables to an area where they are otherwise untenable, while at the same time introducing a sustainable supply of fish. Please subscribe to this blog to find out more about them and their work!

7/28/09

Wrapping it up!

Our time in Lima is quickly coming to an end. But before we go - we are squeezing in as much as possible! In Kat's last days in Peru, she has been conducting research at local grocery stores, and running a follow-up workshop with the tuberculosis patients in Pachacutec, Ventanilla. Aquaponics experts, and Organic Oasis partners, Tito and Jan Craff, attended the workshop as well. Tito did a great job of explaining aquaponics, and getting the families excited about building their own systems. Organic Oasis will have to continue this partnership from afar, but can rest easy knowing Tito will guide them well!

7/22/09

Moving Right Along....

Yesterday Anni held a workshop for ISEAT, a partner organization of PRISMA working with tuberculosis patients in the community of Ventanilla (slums of Lima). There she presented the acuaponics project and held a workshop to start their own systems. This group of 15 families committed to taking on the aquaponics challenge to help feed their families! PRISMA will be providing loans for the community members to get started and Organic Oasis will be assisting in helping them to evolve as a small enterprise. On Monday, Kat will be holding a follow-up organizational meeting. We are thrilled to be able to team up with this community and others to come! Tomorrow Kat and Anni are making a presentation to the Rotary club here in Peru and then meeting with some more Peace Corps Volunteers.

Wade Unleashed!

Wade was sent on an errand by the group and had a very successful time meeting with two Peace Corps Volunteers and their town members in Bolivar, Peru. Bolivar is a small mountain town in a sub-tropical climate in the north of the country. Wade found it to be simple, peaceful, and quite beautiful.

The highlights of the trip included a 3-hour tour of some potential spots for a system with the town mayor and a very interested farmer named Manuel. In addition, Dave and Mike organized a town meeting, where Wade was able to pitch the idea of building a pilot system to 14 town leaders. After conducting a presentation (thanks for the translation Mike and Dave), running some focus group activities, and answering questions. The group gave unanimous support to going forward with a search for land, funds, and people dedicated to running the system. Wade, Dave, and Mike were all very pleased with the outcome of the meeting.

Next steps include connecting Bolivar with a Peruvian support team that understand construction and aquaponics, following up with the in-town research station of a local university to probe interest in supporting the system, and form a committee dedicated to writing the funding proposal and supervising construction. Dave and Mike will have their hands full, but they will have the full support and partnership of Organic Oasis.


7/18/09

Colorado, Lima and Beyond!

On Friday, Wade and Anni attended a meeting with IPES- Promotion for Sustainable Development. After pitching the idea of aquaponics, the boardroom became very excited and informed us that they would like to see our systems filled with strawberries in Colombia! Gunther, Director of Latin American Programs, invited us to join him on August 13th to build their first system. And the expansion begins!

To be continued…

Connecting the Dots!


On Thursday Anni and Wade met with some Peace Corps Volunteer Coordinators to explore even more possibilities and received an invitation to lead training with community host representatives.  They then made their way to visit the system at the Colegio Roosevelt and chatted with the gardeners to catch up on the maintenance. Looks like everything is running smoothly and will be set for the students when they return from winter vacation. Finally, Anni and Wade rushed to see Tito, our technical advisor for an afternoon meeting to discuss his position as a t├ęcnico for Organic Oasis. After receiving some valuable info and sealing our partnership, Anni, Kat and Wade had diner with Kat’s parents and Heather (GSSE Student). One long and productive day with a happy ending! 

7/15/09

Busy as Bees!


Well - Anni and Kat made it out of the Amazon (after making friends with the local Shaman, Don Ramon, an Achual Indian), and Wade made it off the mountain (after biking above 10,000 ft all day)! And as our team tends to do, we hit the ground running.

Yesterday, we prepared for our marathon meetings today, starting with a workshop for a group of teachers from a poor community outside Lima who came to learn about our system and provide us with some valuable market research about their town. They loved the system, and we had a great time getting to know them!

After that, Anni and Kat went to another meeting with Prisma, and came to agreement to move forward with the project supporting the tuberculosis patients! In the next few months we hope to get another system up and running with them. Wade has been working on the system at the school, and putting together numbers for a meeting with an Urban Agriculture NGO tomorrow. As tired as we all are, progress still feels pretty good!

7/8/09

To the north and back again...

We arrived back in Lima safe and sound this afternoon after a 17-hour bus ride from Cajamarca. The Pacasmayo Marathon was a success in many ways - Anni beat her personal best time and came in 2nd place, Wade networked with Peace Corps volunteers, and Kat stumbled across a hydroponic lettuce company!

From the coast, our happy team headed into the hills, and spent two days exploring the beautiful mountain city of Cajamarca.

This fertile landscape is home to two eager Peace Corps volunteers who may install an aquaponic system at their site under our guidance.

7/3/09

One month down - one to go!

Yesterday we went with PRISMA to a workshop that focused on team work as well as how to prevent and treat Tuberculosis. Anni and Kat made friends by showing off their stellar Spanish, while Wade won them over as photographer. We hope to help these humble families improve their nutrition and increase their income with their very own aquaponics system!

Tonight we head 12 hours north to Pacasmayo, where a Peace Corps Volunteer is organizing a marathon - (Anni and Wade are running in it, and Kat is volunteering as a water table captain). Will also be a great opportunity to network! Before we head out, however, we went to the school to check on our system. So far so good!

7/1/09

Final Touches


Today we put the finishing touches on our system! We got 6 male tilapia, 20 lettuce plants, and 5 strawberry plants from the Agricultural University, and fixed all the leaks. We left it in the eager hands of Pedro, the head groundskeeper at the school, who will care for it while we travel north for the next 15 days to Pacasmayo and Cajamarca.

We were also sent this encouraging picture of our original system, still going strong in Kat's back yard. Not even multiple hail storms can slow it down!