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Regional sustainable and autonomous agrifood system

To improve regional food autonomy of Cauca Valley by design a sustainable food system through agro and socio ecologycal principles

Photo of Carlos Arturo Aristizabal Rodriguez
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Lead Applicant Organization Name

Agroecology Research Group - Universidad Nacional de Colombia Sede Palmira

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Researcher Institution

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

Red de Mercados Agroecológicos Campesinos del Valle del Cauca. 1- Farmer co-op

Website of Legally Registered Entity

http://www..unal.edu.co http://www.hermes.unal.edu.co/pages/Consultas/Grupo.jsf?idGrupo=951&opcion http://redmercadosagroecologicos.com

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 3-10 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Palmira

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

Colombia

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Cauca Valley, a State from Colombia, covers a total area of 22.195 km⌃2

What country is your selected Place located in?

Colombia

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

We selected this place because the Agroecology Research Group – ARG, is located in the same state and is the campus influence area. The Universidad Nacional de Colombia – UNAL is a public university and is commited with the society and less favored people in the country. Also Cauca Valley despite of being an important industrial agriculture region, where sugar cane is growth, the place is in a status of food dependency at the same time. On the other side, ARG is commited with the environment and social fabric of rural and urban areas of region since 20 years ago, when it’s researchers, integrated by proffessors and undergraduate and postgraduate students begin to do research looking for biodiversity  and rural-urban social fabric conservancy.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

Cauca Valley (CV) has a unique cultural and biological diversity. It’s a place where several ethnic groups like half blood, africans, indigenous live together in ecosystems from high moisture tropical forest on Pacific (0 – 1000masl), interandean valley  (1100masl), to tropical dry forest (1000 -2000masl), andean moisture forest (2000 – 3000masl) & paramo (3000  - 4000masl). Ethnic groups and geography conforms a multidiverse region that produce flavors, colors and smells that express it's diversity on a plate.

Traditions are marked by the taste for music, happines and dancing of africans & habits of  indigenous and half blood. All of them enjoy rithms from pacific native music, south andean music.

Social dynamics in rural & urban areas comes from historic migrations since colonial age with originarian people explotation by spaniards, slavery of africans and then displaced people by armed conflict from all XX century to the present. Big landwoners are same of colonial period and poor peasant had been displaced to hillsides, broadening agricultural border, forcing them to deploy native forests to get arable land.

There had been displaced to poorest areas of main cities by armed conflict and poverty caused by the lack of government support (infrastructure, rate loans, technical assistance), petrochemical input dependency, economic losses due to high production & distribution costs and the dreams of better salaries & higher life levels in the city. As a result younger family members migrate to cities and elder stay in farms surviving and having poor life conditions like food denpendence, undernourish, poor health assistance. In the worst cases, families lose their farms & migrate to the city.

Urban/rural breakdown is signed by a huge gap in salaries, infrastructure & life quality. Despite cities depend on rural ones for food, water, fresh air, biodiversity and landscapes, rural habitants don’t receive neither fair salaries for their work nor fair prices for their products. Peasants are considered second class citizens & are not recognized as especial people for their vulnerability condition. Colombia didn’t sign the UN peasants rights declaration.

Dominant crop is industrial monoculture of sugar cane, followed by extensive cattle raising on flat & low lands & commercial wood explotations on high mountains, all supported by government. The other are small monoculture of coffee and polycultures (cereals, tropical fruits, animals and vegetables) on hillsides, both done by family farming without government support.

Rural/urban areas depend on corporative food system that provides products from the same state, another regions & global markets. Products consumed in the region bring an enormous carbon footprint at expensive prices for consumers. They have been changing their food habits to waste and fast food, resulting in some food diseases. The effect of this productive and social structure is a situation of food dependence that people is begining to change thinking about more healthy and close food.

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)

22195

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?

4852893

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Our vision will incentive the proximity food production and consumption with agro and socio ecological principles, looking for sustainability, equity, solidarity, nutrition and resilience for ecosystems and people from urban and rural areas.

 

The unsustainability of current agricultural and cattle raising production can be modified implementing agroecological principles, like vegetable and animal diversification, crop associations, nutrients recycling, soil nutrition, organic material losses minimization, biologycal sinergies explotation and the elimination on petrochemical input dependence.

 

Agroecologycal farming can rise the productivity rates by processes of transition from conventional agriculture and broadening of current agroecologycal productions with government and society support. The output of this subsystem can be consumed in rural and urban areas of the state, minimizing the carbon footprint caused by long distance distribution. Also both producer and consumer can obtain fair prices for therir products and for food respectively. Fair prices are an expression of solidarity and equity. Younger farmer family members can comeback to their lands. And farmers co-ops will be stronger and will do more programs for the members wellbeing.

 

An education for responsable and healthy consumption programs may obtain more aware consummers that then will demand healthy, local and fair food for their families.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Our vision will incentive the proximity food production and consumption with agro and socio ecological principles, looking for sustainability, equity, solidarity, nutrition and resilience for ecosystems and people from urban and rural areas.

 

The unsustainability of current agricultural and cattle raising production can be modified implementing agroecological principles, like vegetable and animal diversification, crop associations, nutrients recycling, soil nutrition, organic material losses minimization, biologycal sinergies explotation and the elimination on petrochemical input dependence.

 

Agroecologycal farming can rise the productivity rates by processes of transition from conventional agriculture and broadening of current agroecologycal productions with government and society support. The output of this subsystem can be consumed in rural and urban areas of the state, minimizing the carbon footprint caused by long distance distribution. Also both producer and consumer can obtain fair prices for therir products and for food respectively. Fair prices are an expression of solidarity and equity. Younger farmer family members can comeback to their lands. And farmers co-ops will be stronger and will do more programs for the members wellbeing.

 

An education for responsable and healthy consumption programs may obtain more aware consummers that then will demand healthy, local and fair food for their families. 

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

With a sustainable regional food system the Cauca Valley will recover some strategic ecosystems like tropical dry forest and mountain moisture forest. Biodiversity will be saved and climate change will be mitigated in the region. Water sources will be kept, as wild animals. Soils, air and water will be cleaner and safer for all living beings. There will be less CO2 emissions. Native varieties and races will be produced and consumed, preserving the biocultural memory and diversity.

 

Both farmers and consumers will be better nourished and will have more money to save or to invest in their hosekeeping or farming. Also consumers will be more aware and educated about good nutrition and consumption, and can integrate consumers organizations that can join with producers organizations for improve production levels, diversity and quality. The region will improve it’s food security and autonomy, obtaining the majority of it’s food from the same region.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

A sustainable food system for Cauca Valley will contribute to preserve agrobiodiversity by integrating diverse vegetable and animal species to the agroecosystems at the same place (polycultures), in order to complexify them and favor interactions between different members of trophic networks (microorganisms, plants, animals, insects). It will propitiate populations control (fungi and insects), improve fertility and as a result will elliminate petrochemical inputs (fertilizants and pesticides). If peasants elliminate their petrochemical input independence, they will reduced dramatically their production costs and will obtain higher profits, that can invest improving their production capacity or their living standards.

 

There will be horizontal technical assistance supported by government institutions, recognizing the traditional knowledge and by a knowledge dialogue between peasant and technician can design specific and viable solutions for specific problems of farm.

 

The crops native and creole varieties and animal species and races will be the ones of region culture and traditions. It will help to preserve biocultural memory and diversity, people can eat the food that they had been raised with.

 

Peasant families will save harvest products first for their householding consumption, ensuring their food autonomy and security and improoving their nourishment levels. Then peasants will commercialize the surpluses in local markets directly to local consummers at fair prices for both parts. Local distribution and consumption will reduce carbon footprint by reducing transport distances between producing and consuming places.

 

This markets will be peasant organizations integrated with consumers. Consumers will be educated about agroecologycal food by peasants and government institutions like education departments, schools, environmental and wellbeing institutions.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

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