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Daillen Nordell Culver,  Originally submitted August 2020, MSc International Development, University of Edinburgh, School of Social and Political Science

Chronic malnutrition’s disproportionate impact on indigenous Guatemalans remains an obstacle to rural development. Emerging research suggests the effectiveness of ‘integrated’ home garden interventions in the reduction of malnutrition, though little research has explored situated definitions of integration and modern constraints to such approaches. Drawing upon nutritional anthropology and post-development theory, this case study examines a home garden initiative known as the Casa Granja project, administered by the community-based organization Semillas para el Futuro. Based on evidence of the Casa Granja framework’s positive, long-term impact on the nutritional status of women and infant children, present research explores the framework’s theoretical underpinnings to determine if and how such an approach might be replicated. Thematic deconstruction of interviews and secondary documents reveals four core principles and corresponding practices which constitute the organizational ideology of Vivir Mejor, ‘living better.’ Vivir Mejor resonates with post-development plurality and gestures toward values of interrelatedness and self-direction. Analysis concludes that while Casa Granja represents a shift towards new development paradigms, its viability is constrained by funding structures created to service those paradigms.