Solution Overview

Solution Name:

Unihuerto ensuring community nutrition

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One-line solution summary:

Unihuerto, our gardening program, wishes to meet the demand for healthy food in the university community

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Pitch your solution.

The university gardening program “Unihuerto” is contributing to solve serious world problems like: perturbation of natural water, nitrogen and phosphate cycles, biodiversity loss, nutrition access, climate change and community-nature disconnection. 

We work in a local university community in SLP-Mexico by applying organic urban gardening in public university spaces, worked by volunteers, partially supported by the university and offering monthly curses open to public at a low cost. 

The 4 "Unihuertos" in our diverse climates are situated in different stages which we wish to scale up to meet the demand for accessible fruits and vegetables in our community; ensuring nutrition, lowering carbon emissions, providing urban vegetation, social bondage, circle economy, pollination attraction and compost-lixiviate use. 

Since our launch in 2013, we’ve trained more than 3000 people, 560 just in 2019; we believe that if expanded our social impact could assure good food and maintain healthy relationships with others and nature.

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Film your elevator pitch.

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What specific problem are you solving?

Unihuerto is impacting sustainable food systems, we understand how industrial agriculture has affected different spheres of our environmental and social crisis and scarcities from soil degradation to climate change. 

Consistent with the continued growth in undernourishment, 770 million people faced severe food insecurity in 2017” (UN, 2019).

In Mexico we are using 21,200,000 h in agriculture harvest (SIAP, 2019), in San Luis Potosí 43.4% of the population in 2018 are in a situation of poverty, defining poverty as lacking 1 of social scarcity, 17% lacking access to food (Coneval, 2018).

The scale of the problem in our university community can go from 42000 to 90,000 people including the surrounding community of our campi, many of them are in vulnerable situations, like those who attend the biggest public hospital that withholds the lowest income and indigenous patients. 

Factors that contribute to the actual food problem can be: supply chains with great carbon emission, dependency on public and big commerce demand, unfair pay to day laborers, low income customers, education shortage, self-perception and lack of incentives. 

These factors can be decisive but also can function turned inside out to promote new perceptions and governance through knowledge and community bondage.

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What is your solution?

Unihuerto works in the local university community (Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí) in the state of San Luis Potosí in Mexico. It uses organic urban gardening for food production in public university spaces all around the state, functions as open classroom, laboratory and recreational space; and is operated by volunteers that may be students, workers or community families.

We believe a sustainable project needs continuous education and by this premise we offer monthly agroecology curses open to public at a low cost so urban farming can be easily replicated in other contexts, as also we qualify our team’s expertise. To teach we must practice first, that is why we apply organic farming concepts like biointensive methods, breeding grounds, seed recollection and micro & macro organism use as always looking for innovation.

We nurture four "Unihuertos" which adapt to the arid desert, where the main campus is located to the tropic “huasteca”. All gardens are at different stages of development and need to scale up to meet the demand in situ and in our surroundings that can vary from indigenous, immigrants and low income students, workers and general public.

For the operational well-functioning we keep an organization model, an institutional backup and a good communication strategy.

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Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

The University community is shaped out of earnest students who can reach to accessible quality education from all over the country, working community that surrounds the university and indigenous, medically needed and low income population that transits nearby or directly collaborates with academic projects.

Offering access to healthy food, education and infrastructure can present opportunities of self-managed nutrition by in situ and cheap fruits and vegetables besides the know-how of ongoing growth and harvesting in urban and rural contexts.

This access may change their perception, add value to their education and change the agriculture system with its needs, as we know it.

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Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Improve supply chain practices to reduce food loss, scale new business models for producer-market connections, and create low-carbon cold chains
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Explain how the problem, your solution, and your solution’s target population relate to the Challenge and your selected dimension.

Our local and regional solution attends a global challenge to imagine sustainable food systems, like short agriculture chains that can function greatly and be nurtured, replicated and scaled.

There is a population directly benefited but there is also a population of potential small-scale producers that could feel supported by knowledge, association and input backup.

The impact can be measured by improving our harvest productivity, land use and lower carbon emission and therefore transport expenses. 

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In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

San Luis Potosí, San Luis Potosi, Mexico
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What is your solution’s stage of development?

Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model rolled out in one or, ideally, several communities, which is poised for further growth
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Who is the primary delegate for your solution?

Dr. Marcos Algara-Siller

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Solution Team

 
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