Sustainable Nutrition


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Gaby Antonova
Victor Ayala
Oren Ben-Joseph
Julie Famular
Hilary Poff
Kelsey Stewart
Tamsin Thoren
Andrea Vilas



Nutrient deficiencies are a common problem throughout the developing world and can lead to deficiency related conditions and symptoms (short stature, kwashiorkor, marasmus, anemia, etc.). Guatemala has the highest rate of undernutrition in Latin America and the 4th highest rate in the world. 50% of children in Guatemala are undernourished and almost that many suffer from stunting (low height for age). The result is decreased cognitive function, diminished educational attainment, lower earnings capacity, and higher infant mortality, as well as potential links to increased risk of chronic diseases.

While food aid provides necessary immediate relief in acute situations, it does not provide a sustainable food supply that can be produced by the population in need. Improved agricultural practices and diversity of crops may hold the key to relieving deficiency conditions in developing nations. Nutrition education is necessary to impart the role of dietary patterns in health outcomes. Education is key to understanding and acceptance of proposed dietary and agricultural changes.


Our group plans to work with the San Pablo community to expand and evolve their existing community greenhouse and develop an outdoor community garden so that the two sites can serve as:

  • An outdoor classroom for the sharing of knowledge about nutrition and agricultural practices
  • A test plot for new crops
  • A source of food and income generating crops
  • A gathering space for the community
    • Community Greenhouse is currently used for growing crops and producing “Eco-LeƱas” (plant waste fire logs)



  • Sustainable Agriculture

    • Expand and evolve the existing community greenhouse and develop an outdoor community garden to increase production of food for locals
    • Develop a test plot where farmers can experiment with new crops and sustainable agriculture practices without fear of income loss from crop failure
    • Experiment with fruit trees and other fruit crops to test for viability both as food for locals and cash crops
    • Share information with the farmers of San Pablo in order to implement and improve sustainable practices both in San Pablo and in our own communities
    • Assist the people of San Pablo with finding suitable fruit crops for their growing conditions
  • Education

    • Expand and evolve the existing community greenhouse and develop community garden and test plots to serve as hands-on knowledge sharing centers
    • Foster cross-cultural awareness of sustainable farming practices and nutritional needs
    • Exchange ideas and knowledge with the San Pablo community
    • Develop a framework for improving food security and nutritional status in other communities
    • Multiple models of educational theory will be used and the community will be encouraged to control the planning process to ensure that the needs of the community are addressed.
  • Nutrition

    • Assess micronutrient intake to determine the needs of the community
    • Suggest new crops that could improve the nutritional status of the people of San Pablo
    • Introduce fruit leather production as a means to increase fruit consumption and decrease candy consumption amongst children
    • Decrease or eliminate any conditions related to nutrient deficiencies via gradual additions to dietary intake (This is obviously a large goal that will not be achieved by any one project alone. Nutritional deficiency is a complicated issue that has multiple causative agents. Perhaps a more attainable goal is to gain understanding of nutrient deficiencies and related conditions and explore opportunities for improvement. I like to remember the larger goal, however, even if this project is only one approach toward that larger goal.)

  • Cross Cultural Interchange and Connection
    • Explore connecting our San Luis Obispo community to San Pablo through a sister garden at Pacheco Elementary
    • Collaborate with parents at Pacheco Elementary School to aid in the development of their school garden
    • Facilitate the exchange of ideas and learning between the two gardens and students within both communities
    • Facilitate increased food security in San Luis Obispo through awareness of home gardening, community gardens, and school gardens

Stakeholders Analysis and Needs Assessment

  • Wendy, from Las Mujeres, indicated the following:
    • Imbalanced nutrient intake amongst children in San Pablo
    • Lack of awareness or concern for and/or inadequate finances to remedy nutrient intake
    • Community interest in expansion of the greenhouse and inclusion of educational programs
    • Need for, and interest in increasing the amount and variety of fruits available
    • Need for, and interest in a means to decreased candy consumption amongst children
    • Proposed Needs (Materials, Manpower, Time, Finances,etc.)

Why this project is important to us

  • The members of this group make up a diverse cross-disciplinary team with interests in agriculture, nutrition, design, business, and education/co-learning. We understand that we are privileged to be receiving higher education and want to share that gift to help others who who don’t have our same opportunities. We also understand that there is plenty that can not be learned in a university and that we can benefit through cross-cultural dialogue and understanding.
  • Agriculture is an integral part of the lives of the people of San Pablo as well as the economy and identity of San Luis Obispo county. We are interested in exploring the similarities and differences between the two cultures and learning how we can each benefit from each other.
  • Developing a program to enhance and expand the current agricultural practices in both communities could enhance the quality of life for those living in San Pablo and in San Luis Obispo.
    • Increased food security through sustainable practices
    • Improved health through agricultural diversity
  • Knowledge sharing will make information available to help farmers succeed in sustainable agricultural practices in both communities.
  • Working on this project provides experience valuable to our various career goals.
  • By learning from the people of San Pablo we can learn ways to reduce our carbon footprints and move closer to the global average.


  • Learn about agriculture in foreign countries
  • Learn about the customs and culture of San Pablo
  • Become more culturally sensitive and aware
  • Learn alternate agricultural techniques that can be applied in San Luis Obispo
    • Use the information gained from San Pablo to implement less mechanized farming practices in the community
      • Educate the San Luis Obispo community on subsistence agriculture, farming techniques, and nutrition as a means to increase food security amongst the most vulnerable populations in our community.
        • Local community gardens, school gardens, home gardens, “Food Bank” garden
  • Earn an “A” in UNIV 391/HNRS 391


Unanswered Questions:

  • Do the people of San Pablo suffer any nutrient deficiencies?
    • High likelihood of stunting given national statistics – weight to age measurements would be needed to verify
    • Possible micronutrient deficiencies – could be determined through formal dietary analysis and/or biochemical assays
  • If so, is there a desire for dietary change to improve nutritional status?
  • Are there any crops that the farmers of San Pablo would like to introduce? (anything they have heard about on the internet, at the market, or from other farmers)
    • Fruits are of interest.
  • If ever, how often do the children of San Pablo brush their teeth?
    • This can factor into the dental/ cavity problems with candy consumption among the children.
  • What is the impact of inexpensive candy on the acceptance and sale of fruit leather?

Ongoing Research:

  • Continued research on appropriate fruit crops for the climate of San Pablo to be presented to Las Mujeres and any other interested community members.
  • Research into fruit leather production methods suitable to the resources available to the San Pablo community.

Group Presentations:

Presentation 1:
UNIV 391_Sustainable Ag Nutrition_Presentation 1.pptx

Presentation 2:
UNIV 391_Sustainable Ag Nutrition_Presentation 2.pptx

Final Presentation on Prezi:

Information Gathering and Notes (Current Crops, Agricultural Practices, and Eating Habits)