Winner of the 2012 National Seed Competition


Project Type

Community gardens

Project Location

Lomas de Zapallal, outside of
Lima, Peru

Project Partner

UW Departments of Global Health
and Landscape Architecture; Universidad de San Marcos;

Fogarty International Scholars program;

The communities of Lomas de Zapallal

Project Start Date


Project Team

Ben Spencer

Brian Gerich

David Witte

Jess Smith

Coco Alarcon
Leann Andrews

# of AWB Volunteers

Numerous volunteers + UW students


More Information

The Community Gardens Project is one of several projects AWB-Seattle is partnering with University of Washington to implement in Lomas de Zapallal. Learn more about this project and our partnership with University of Washington! You can read about our background on this project and see the partner projects here.


The projects in Lomas de Zapallal build upon the efforts of AWB volunteers over the past four years and incorporated 8 UW students who participated as part of an International Exploration Seminar. In July, August and September of last year, AWB helped to design and construct a 600 SM park at the Pitagoras School. In 2012, AWB sent a Project Manager along with the UW team to evaluate progress and explore additional ways to help.


The park’s design provides vital access between the school’s central gathering area and the primary school, green space in an otherwise barren desert landscape and areas for students to relax and play. Constructed from local stone, nurturing more than 200 shrubs, trees and other plants and incorporating an innovative grey-water irrigation system, the project improves human well being and ecological health while addressing Lima’s looming water crisis.


The project relied heavily upon community investment and served as a platform for community mobilization at an impressive scale. Its design was conceived and crafted through a series of participatory design workshops involving students, parents and teachers. More than 300 parents graded the site with shovels and wheelbarrows, laid stone to form pathways at platforms and planted trees. The park was constructed in 2 weeks.


AWB looks forward to continuing our efforts as part of the Escuela Saludable y Ecologica Initiative, as well as additional project in this community, as well as in the adjoining Eliseo Collazos neighborhood. Several projects are currently underway;

  • New classrooms will provide a durable healthy environment for secondary students to pursue their studies

  • A school-based community health center will provide essential medical services currently unavailable in the area

  • A retaining wall in Eliseo Collazos


It is our hope that over time, successful projects at will improve living conditions, health and ecological resilience of Lomas de Zapallal, Eliseo Collazos, and urban slums worldwide.


To see more about this project check out the 2012 Seed Competition Page.

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