One of the goals of our permaculture project was to teach women the food security, self-sustainable households and healthy diet.  The Tong district, where our villages are located are rich in apricots and apples (except for the Toguz-Bulak village located high in the mountains).

The expert on growing medical herbs and food conservation Sonunbubu Jyltyrova taught our 60 women from 5 villages to preparation of various types of healthy jams, drinks and sweets adding calendula, mint, thymes. For rural population that consumes too much sugary products (sweets, jams, etc), the trainer told the alternatives of replacing them. For instance to replace sweets and candies with natural sweets prepared from the fruits and berries used for jam. From the same leftovers to prepare summer drinks (non-alcoholic mojitos) that can be liked by children and could replace the bottles drinks. Women were especially amazed at the non-waste cooking methods, where every leftover can be used to prepare another product, and the possibility of shifting their children’s attention to natural products, not the marketed sweets and drinks.

Note:   El-Too’s director Bakytbek Choitonbaev has been organizing the “Apricot Fest” festival, where he tried to create a platforms for producers and customers, where rural women could sell their jams or other products (handicrafts etc) for several years. However, this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, such an event was not allowed to be organized.

As part of the training, women also conducted the food security table, where they learnt the 11 necessary food list to sustain food security at the household level, and also analyzed if they produce the named products. 

The training were conducted in the Manjyly yurt camp located in the semi-desert area. The hosts of the camp tried to grow peaches, tomatoes, cucumber and other fruits and berries using some elements of permaculture. So, we wanted to show their lessons learnt to our participants. Combining study with leisure, women were able to have a swimming in the lake afterwards.

Learning about food security and healthy diet, Part 1 “Fruits and jams”
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