Mainstream provides greenhouse management and crop scheduling training for communities in Southern Chile

Mainstream organised further workshops on best practices for greenhouse management during 2017, following the high level of interest shown by the communities that participated in the 2016 composting and vermiculture workshops.

As part of the work that Mainstream does to involve local communities in their sustainable business plan, the company organised a number of workshops around greenhouse management and techniques for growing organic vegetables. Around 50 members from the Colonia Ponce community in Purranque and the Colonia San Martín community in Frutillar participated in these workshops, both of which are located within the Los Lagos region in southern Chile.

The aim of this particular initiative is to teach the community about the techniques for growing organic vegetables so that they can plan out and manage their greenhouse or vegetable garden activities more efficiently. Through practical training, the participants learnt the eight principles of the biointensive cultivation method, as well as learning about the best periods to sow and harvest the different kinds of vegetables. In keeping with the theme of organic farming, they also researched useful tools that would help to improve the sowing and harvesting processes within their communities. At the end of each workshop, the participants were given a diploma certifying their participation.

The workshops were led by Marcela Ibieta, a naturalist guide from Chile who has an extensive knowledge of the areas of botany, geology, fauna and flora, ornithology and “turismo de lupa” (magnifying glass tourism, which involves examining plants such as lichens, fungi and other vegetation using a magnifying glass) and has over 13 years of experience in the region. “We had a great response, the community was very appreciative of the knowledge that they had acquired and are very eager to put these new skills into action in their community projects,” says Marcela Ibieta. She adds, “This means we still have lots of work to do in future workshops as there is an ongoing need in this region to develop new and improved techniques for growing produce at home”.

It is important to note that this activity went ahead thanks to the enthusiasm of the communities that participated in the composting and vermiculture workshops held in 2016. Many of these community members have their own greenhouses and wanted to learn more about crop management so that they could increase their yield and go on to sell their produce.

Mainstream is active in this region with the Puelche Sur wind farm project, which is currently in the development stage. When completed, this project will have 51 wind turbines and a total installed capacity of 153 MW.