The people living in the harsh semi-arid mountainous region in Peru's Vilconata Valley are finally savouring the outcome of their labours: the fresh vegetables and fruits which they grew themselves. Almost every family in the valley owns a patch of "ecological garden" near its home. And the entire family tends it with care. It is only an hour's work in a day, as they go about it in an "environmentally friendly" manner.

Each garden has an irrigated greenhouse to protect delicate vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers. Chemicals, pesticides and artificial fertilisers are out. Instead, the families rely on natural fertilisers and farming methods and water the crops regularly using an irrigation channel. They are being supported in their efforts by Intermediate Technology, a British development agency, which is funding the project.