Hope springs up from backyard gardens

May 05, 2023

It’s gardening season!

For many Canadians, the May long weekend is the unofficial start of outdoor gardening season. If the sun is shining, the gardeners are out and in a few short weeks, will hope to see the first sprouts of the year.

Spotting the first buds burst up from the earth offers promise for summer. Tiny sprouts are a tangible sign of hope for the coming season.

For the people of Laos, seeing sprouts in their gardens are more than a sign of hope for summer. Sprouts are hope for feeding and providing for their family. Sprouts are an opportunity for their children to have nutritious food and a secure future. Sprouts are hope for stability in community for generations to come.

Through your generosity, people in villages in Laos have the opportunity to choose to participate in various programs in order to build sustainable income for their families.

Sowing seeds year round

84 households in the Nhommalath District, Khammouane province of Laos benefited from training in small animal raising techniques and received seeds for their home gardens. Vanh (23) and her family received seeds and training through the program.

“I am very happy to have learnt home gardening in 2022. We have more nutritious food for my children and it also generated new income for our family”

A mother and her son are working in their background garden. A variety of produce is growing.

Vanh and her son work in their home garden together.

Along with other participants in the home garden activity, Vanh was provided with training in how to build a sustainable garden, she received seeds and the equipment she required.

Vanh and her husband, are rice farmers. Post harvest season, her husband had to go out to find other jobs for their living. After receiving training in home gardening activity, Vanh was able to make organic fertilizer registered with the project and District Agricultural and Forestry Office. After receiving a variety of seeds and support through a savings group, Vanh had the equipment and knowledge to build a sustainable garden with nutritious vegetables that not only could she use to feed her family, but she could also sell in the community. Vanh has a plan to continue growing vegetables and sell them at market through dry and rainy seasons.

From the Xebangfai region, Mrs. Vieng, a farmer with 6 people in her family also participated in the home garden activity and was able to provide for both her family and produce enough to sell in the market for extra income year round. She says, "I am happy that I had the chance to attend the training from the project. Now I know the best way is to grow the vegetables and improve soil. I got vegetable seeds of eggplant, bean, coriander, cucumber, casim, pumpkin, gourd, lettuce, fragrant, garlic, mustard, spinach, green onion, cabbage, moringa, chilli, bottle gourd, lettuce, morning glory."

Planting mango trees

Planting mango trees in the region of Xebangfai offer a range of benefits for the community.

six children stand in front of a blue banner. They are holding potted mango trees.

Children show the mango trees to be planted in the community.

Sep (in a blue shirt in the middle) shares about the benefits of planting mango trees, “Trees that we plant are mango trees. They produce mangoes. We will have both ripe and unripe mangoes. The ripe mangoes have good nutrition for healthiness. Their leaves can be shades for us to do activities outside. Their trunks can be wood for building animal coops, growing white mushroom etc. Trees are beneficial.”

Fresh hope for a single mother

Van (25) is a single mother and farmer in the Thahad village. Her twin sons are 4 years old. After getting a divorce when her children were one month old, she moved in with her parents who are also farmers. Van participated in the producer group.

A woman stands in the middle of her garden. A makeshift roof from branches and wire protect the garden. Her young son with her and shows a bowl of fresh produce.

Van and her son show the produce they have grown from the seeds and equipment given to them through the producer group.

She received training on techniques on how to grow vegetables, improve soil and make natural fertilizer. She said, “I received plant seeds and gardening equipment. I have grown vegetables for my family and share some to my parents and relatives for one cycle already. I have amaranth, coriander, cabbage, long bean, and cucumber which its wire is growing.”

She has a plan to prepare the old vegetable bed that vegetables are already harvested on for a new cycle of planting.

A woman and her young son crouch in their garden, filling a bowl with produce from the garden.

Van and her son work in their lush garden.

This Spring season, as you bear witness to new spring buds and feel the hope of new life, be reminded of the people in Laos and the amazing difference you are making through your gifts.

by Katrina de Schiffert

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