Meet Leticia Cortes from David, Panama

“I am a real estate broker who loves nature. For years I’ve had a garden at home, which provides our favorite organic vegetables to my family. At the beginning of the pandemic, I decided to share my gardening life for the first time in social media to help others in my country to achieve the same results.

When I was a little girl I remember watching my father out in the yard for hours working in his garden. The truth is, at that time I wasn’t very interested, until I turned 18 years old. I found out gardening was an unbelievable world, giving me so much joy.

I grow food as a hobby, in order to relax. To see a plant grow from a tiny seed turning into something that replenishes our bodies, is one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced.

My garden in about 1000sq ft. Where I live the climate is very warm between 33 degree centigrade to 35 degree centigrade, however I can grow all kinds of veggies like lettuce, cabbage, aubergines, cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes and all kinds of crops that aren’t usually grown in a tropical climate.

I keep my garden totally organic, I think that is one of the benefits of having a small garden. I keep a balance between edible crops and flowers and promote biodiversity. I use compost, worms, humus and some fungicides and incecticides derived from botanical extracts to keep everything under control.

I used to buy many seeds in the past but now I get acclimatized seeds from my garden, which I share with my friends.

In my country it rains 10 months of the year, which brings many pests and fungal diseases, it is quite challenging to maintain an organic garden in these tropical conditions.

I enjoy learning and teaching others at the same time to grow organic food through my social media. This online community has grown not only in my country but also in many Latin American countries which share the same weather. With the help of a gardener friend, we created and published the first gardener cultivation guide for warm tropical weather. It makes me very happy to see when we help people achieve something they never thought could be possible.

I would like children in Latin America, and around the world, to grow up with the experience of how to produce food and enjoy it. We live in a changing world, we never know what will happen tomorrow. Our children are our future, regardless of their formal education and career path, they need to learn how to grow healthy food.”