OIA accompanies the Organic Garden Projects in prisons

06 Sep 2021

OIA supports ad honorem in inspection, auditing, certification and training tasks in the Argentine Organic Standard, to accompany social insertion and promote entrepreneurship in prison settings, through organic production.

The initiative arose in 2019 from the public-private work of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, through the Organic Production area of ​​the Secretariat of Food and Bioeconomy, the Ministry of Production, through the program El Mercado en tu Barrio , which is shared with the agricultural portfolio; Organización Internacional Agropecuaria S.A. (OIA); the Argentine Movement for Organic Production (MAPO); the National Seed Institute (INASE) and the Federal Penitentiary Service Technical and Financial Cooperation Entity (ENCOPE).

The first experience that took place was in Unit No. 19 of the Ezeiza Penal Colony, dependent on the Federal Penitentiary Service, where a training stage was carried out. In this initial stage, a theoretical-practical course was carried out, which included the methodological bases of a sustainable garden and the principles of organic production and circular economy. The training of the interns was in charge of Professor Silvina Ferreyra and Ing. Agr. Facundo Soria, of the National Directorate of Food and Beverages of the Ministry. Meanwhile, the provisions of organic seeds came from the Huerta of the Municipality of Las Termas de Rio Hondo and the Directorate of Agriculture of the Ministry of Production of the Government of the Province of Santiago del Estero.

The main objective of the project is to supply the internal community of the institution with seasonal, fresh food of differentiated quality. Simultaneously, train the prison population through garden maintenance activities, which will provide inmates with skills so that, upon regaining their freedom, their social reintegration is facilitated, giving them the possibility of working in productive enterprises of these features. Production surpluses may be marketed outside the Unit with the “Organic Argentina” seal, thus providing resources and generating an entrepreneurial profile in the participants.

Then, during the next stage of the project, OIA carried out technical monitoring and monitoring of the project, in addition to the own certification audits, in accordance with the provisions of Law 25.127 and SENASA. Today the results of all the work and effort are observed, with the harvest of quality products such as tomatoes (cherry, perita, platense), corn, squash, chili peppers, chicory, radish, beet, aubergines, pumpkin (ank and trunk ), arugula, lemon basil, lettuce, leek; among others.

Next steps

In the coming months of 2021, the Secretariat of Food, Bioeconomy and Regional Development of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries in conjunction with the Cooperation Entity of the Penitentiary Service of Argentina (ENCOPE), the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA), Organization Agropecuaria International (OIA) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) will sign a framework Cooperation Agreement that demonstrates the importance of inter-institutional and public-private work.

The purpose of the Agreement is to establish the mechanisms of cooperation, collaboration and technical assistance to carry out joint actions in order to generate a scope of work to deepen the activities already undertaken, as well as to specify new ones, with the main strength of having a multidisciplinary team.

The Agreement includes the strengthening of the Organic Garden project in the Federal Penitentiary Service Colonia Penal de Ezeiza (U.19) that began in 2019 and already presents encouraging results; Likewise, it incorporates two new projects: Production of Silkworms (Sericulture) in the Federal Penitentiary Complex IV of Ezeiza and Production of organic Gírgolas in the Federal Complex of Young Adults (U. 24) of Marcos Paz, both in the province of Buenos Aires .

The agreement is thus one more example of public-private collaboration at the national level, which will also have an international impact and marks the beginning of an enriching path for all its participants. At OIA we are proud and satisfied with the achievements obtained and we hope to be able to replicate it in other penitentiary units.