We are excited to be celebrating front porch's 4th anniversary this coming January!
Throughout the past 4 years, front porch has experienced steady growth as we have built pivotal relationships shaped through our mission's lens. Together with you, we have been able to help support rural community efforts both locally and internationally, and for that we are deeply grateful.
As we prepare for the coming year, we’ve taken some time to reflect on our efforts in Nepal in 2023 and invite you to join us as our fifth year unfolds as a nonprofit organization.
The Learning Garden Center
In 2022 front porch in collaboration with KRMEF, launched the Samudāya Learning Garden Center (SLGC). The Center is a hands-on, immersive experience in which participants learn and apply skills needed to grow their own organic food within the community.
Fast forward a year: The coordinated plan was for KRMEF to fully integrate SLGC into the biodynamic farming system and absorb the gardens' operating costs by the end of 2023. Earlier this year, our co-founder Mae Tanner spent four months at the foundation, during which she had several discussions with KRMEF's founders about the plan's feasibility. As these talks went on and included the school's director and SLGC project manager, it became apparent that shifting towards SLGC becoming primarily school-based would ensure the program's sustainability.
As of this past summer things are progressing in this direction. SLGC's infrastructure (tool and supplies storage shed, two greenhouses, 5000 gallon cistern, irrigation, seed bank, washing station, seedling nursery, water harvesting system and demonstration garden) is now 100% complete, which means that the workspaces are ready for the students' use.
As the children learn and experience the gardening concepts, they will be taking care of their own dedicated garden area, amending the soil, starting seedlings, and caring for the plants they will be growing in garden and around the school grounds.
· Grades 3 & 4 will restart their garden-based curriculum (the Farming Man), which Mae developed and launched while visiting in January of 2023, and integrates the lessons/experiences and gardening into their school routines.
· Our project manager Manik taught English to Grades 3 & 4 and is the hands-on instructor in the gardens and workspaces (alongside their classroom teachers).
· Development of the plans to involve every student in the gardens' establishment, cultivation, care, and maintenance is underway.
This year, Manik has managed the project along with Ratan (new intern) who oversees the garden plots, Kali, our lead gardener teaches and supervises the Garden Coordinators; as a team, they are responsible for the terraced gardens. Kali and the Coordinators also lead women from the immediate community and upper villages who come somewhat regularly to learn and work in the gardens. These "visiting" gardeners receive a day's wage (Rs500--about US$3.80) for their work, along with a hot midday meal, freshly prepared at the on-site cafe.
At harvest time, the women who show up regularly also receive a share of the crop. A CSA Nepali-style if you will. Originally, this concept was to be a focus of SLGC; with the school’s programs now front-and-center, however, Manik has been planning to build the women’s' participation/involvement gradually throughout the 2023 season.
To speak to SLGC's longevity/sustainability, Manik and Kali (center) have worked to improve the terraces' soil biodiversity. It is happening, albeit slowly. As the soil gains health, the produce yield will be more than what is needed to supply the cafe.
It is useful to note that the KRMEF cafe staff prepares the entirety of the schoolchildren's meals (all 186 students); midday meals and tea for all foundation staff (including teachers), daily workers for each department/area, visitors, and volunteers; evening supper for the volunteers (anywhere from 1-27 people); and cooks up fare for community events (which seem to happen at least once or twice each week). The vegetables, fruits, and herbs produced in the gardens keep costs down for the cafe while ensuring the use of local, organic produce whenever possible--and feeding much of the immediate community with quality food!
Krishna Gurung, (KRMEF founder), continues to hold periodic Biodynamic workshops on-site focused on the benefits of a holistic approach to agriculture in Nepal.
Photo: courtesy of Annalena
Sustainability at KRMEF has multiple pathways; SLGC is one of several areas through which the foundation is experiencing growth and expansion. front porch's fundraising efforts have allowed SLGC to fully assimilate into KRMEF's daily rhythms and operating expenses over the course of 2023 and into 2024.
We at front porch extend our wishes for a bright and inspiring start to 2024. Thank you again for your support in connecting resources to those in need. Stay tuned as we embark on our new project in Nepal!
the front porch family
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front porch is a 501[c] tax-exempt organization, tax ID 83-2204485. 432 Legate Hill Road, Charlemont, MA 01339
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