It Starts With a Seed:
interBLOK’s first project
Anticipation and uncertainty filled the air as we sat in our truck and waited for the Border Guard to declare our vehicle safe for entry. This was a new experience for us as we have never been “checked out” on our way from the States into Mexico. They have the largest X-ray machine I had ever seen for our vehicle. Why was such a procedure necessary? It could have been the 3 by 5 foot shipping crate in the back of our truck. In fact it was the 3 by 5 foot crate in the back of our truck. After a suspenseful 15 minute waiting period, we were given the “ok” and we were on our way!
My brother Alex and I had been planning a month long research and business development project in Baja California, Mexico. Our plan was to stay on site at Door of Faith Orphanage in La Misión, a rural farming village between Rosarito and Ensenada. DJ and Lynette have been faithful administrators at www.DOFO.org for 21 years and they graciously opened up a volunteer quarters for us. This was to be our “headquarters” during our stay. We had visited Door of Faith a few times before the month long commitment and after being on site, we saw and felt a family environment that was very encouraging. The children and staff take care of each other and their home with dignity and love.
Not wanting to come empty handed, Alex and I came up with a plan. We wanted to perform our process on a smaller scale. As we hope to do with the shipping container projects, we want to provide immediate care in addition to long term infrastructure. After consulting with DJ, the orphanage administrator, we discovered that a Raised Bed Herb and Veggie Garden would make a nice addition to the grounds at Door of Faith. This tool would allow them to grow for the kitchen so they could cut on shopping costs.
We designed a custom wood storage crate and partnered with a local manufacturer to build it. 9 milk crates (which are great for storage) were provided by a local grocer which we used for shipping and then again later in the garden transformation. We added some flair and extra protection with corrugated paneling and waterproofed the entire unit.
We made it to the orphanage in one piece and were able to deliver our shipment of donations. Finding the placement for the GardenBlok was next on the list. In the meantime it served as safe storage for various items while we were out and about in the area.
Towards the end of our trip we were directed to the perfect spot for the garden. A space between two volunteer apartments on the southwest side of the campus. The area had been overgrown with various wild vegetation. We borrowed some tools from the folks at the orphanage and got to work cleaning up the area.
After a few hours we dug up enough rocks to be able to use them for small retaining wall in the back of the garden. After tidying up we placed the container in the center of the space. Zen Garden style. Check out how it turned out below.
Up next we needed to create the framework for the garden on top of the storage space. We created the bed using Poly sheeting and wood. The best way to maximize small spaces is to grow up! We decided to repurpose our milk crates as well. They work great for holding up the soil for vertical gardening. The raised level keeps the soil from losing nutrients to the earth, stimulating root growth while protecting it from weeds and animals. It also increased the growable square footage from 15 to about 36 square feet. We planted cilantro and basil on the sides, zucchini, jalapenos, and squash on top.
I would like to thank our donors for making this project happen, and Door of Faith Orphanage for their partnership and support. This is such a fun way to start things off in La Misión.
Repost or donate to help us do this again soon. Thanks for reading. Until next time.
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Check out my brother’s side of the story below: