An aquaponic system in Peru, recently completed by Harvest the Future International Symposium’s host organization, INMED Partnerships for Children, will create a sustainable source of fish and vegetables, providing quality nutrition to the local schools and community. We caught up with Kristin Callahan and John Evans, two INMED volunteers on the project who helped guide the implementation of the aquaponic system, to learn more about their experience.
Aquaponic systems have a wide range of benefits, but the specific goal of this project is that the new system will play an important role in the deworming initiative INMED is leading in Peru along with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The duo, who spent three weeks last month volunteering in Peru, noted three areas where the initiatives tie together:
- Educational—if the children know what nutritious food is and have it available, their diet will improve.
- Medicinal—the children have deworming medication available so they no longer have the parasite that is robbing them of their nutrition.
- Agricultural—by having an aquaponic system that is consistently providing fish, plants and healthy food that they can eat, they will have much better nutrition and health in the long run.
“To make a project like this successful, it needs to take root (literally) in the community,” Callahan notes. INMED worked with local schools to incorporate an educational aspect of the initiative. Students and teachers alike were eager to incorporate aquaponics into the curriculum. The volunteers created materials and taught students how the aquaponic system works and the benefits of healthy eating.
As with every INMED project, all of the materials and labor for the aquaponic system were sourced locally, bringing work and economic development to the community.
Reflecting on their time in Peru, both Callahan and Evans describe the experience as a rewarding one. Callahan hopes that it will have a long-term impact of changing nutritional behavior in the area as well as inspiring others to employ sustainable agriculture techniques.
To read more about Kristin and John’s work in Peru, visit www.kristinandjohn.wordpress.com