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Ecoweaving & Macrotunnels: The Many Faces of Guatemala 2011 | Nourish International

May 30, 2011 | Posted in 2011, Guatemala, Stanford, UCLA | By

As promised, here’s an in-depth look at our project!

EcoWeaving

The first project, EcoWeaving, has already been started in Guatemala City. We are being called in to assess the production and sales of the venture and to create an improvement plan to increase profitability. EcoWeaving combines the age-old craft of weaving with a modern twist: all the woven products are created from industrial waste like candy wrappers, chip wrappers, and plastic bottle labels, which are donated to the project from corporations like Pepsi and Colgate. Normally, these leftover or defective wrappers would end up in landfills, and now they are being utilized to provide food, medicine, and books for the women and children of Guatemala City. Before departing, we will be preparing some basic Spanish language information pamphlets about business skills, marketing, and personal/family finances in order to increase the effectiveness of the EcoWeaving venture. UCLA Nourish loves this project because it is creative and sustainable in every single aspect!

An example of a purse made using the EcoWeaving technique!

Macrotunnels

For the 2nd part of our time in Guatemala, we will be moving to rural El Jícaro to implement what are called Macrotunnels. SIFE at UVG offers rural farmers a full range of services including micro-loans, agricultural education, and financial & marketing consulting. Macrotunnels are the next phase of this project, and this is where the bulk of our resources will be spent during our stay. These tunnels are essentially mini-greenhouses that consist of arched tubes covered with a fabric called agryl. This protects the vegetables and other crops from harsh weather conditions, pests, and diseases to allow for a more profitable harvest.

The Macrotunnels benefit so many aspects of this rural community, and SIFE UVG is excited to finally have the funds and the manpower to facilitate their installation. We will be learning how to build these with our own hands and then passing those skills on to the rural farmers of the community! The products raised in these Macrotunnels will be sold at market or cooked and enjoyed by the community. In addition, they will also be integrated into the UCLA Nourish’s 2009 project, which involved making organic goods like shampoos and soaps to sell at the marketplace. Many of the ingredients for these creations will now be grown right in the backyards of the women who make and sell these products!

Organic Shampoo-making in progress in El Jícaro - 2009

So there you have it! As you can see we have so many things to be excited about, and we are honored to be a part of such an incredible project in such vibrant communities. Stay tuned for more pre-departure excitement, and we’ll be sure to update you all when we get settled in Guatemala on the 15th!

Coming up next: UCLA Nourish Meet & Greet: Introductions and bios from myself and the rest of the project participants!