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Caldas Nutritious Lunch Program

Imagine a co-operative by local moms (say 10 women), who sign up to cook nutritious lunches together for their families. A few of the women (3-4), who have signed up could assemble on rotation at a rented space in a “finca” (a mountain villa, quite common in Latin America) to prepare food in bulk quantity for all families in the area, who have signed up for the program.

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The co-operative of women will:

- Share resources (produce, water, oil for cooking, meat, beans, rice, etc.)

- Have one nutritious meal cooked for their children and families per day

- Learn from each other, share practices and build a strong community

- Pass the knowledge about food preparation to their children and this is a great way to educate

- Share support to prepare nutritious food for their families, especially for the children

- Negotiate better prices with the local farmers as they will purchase in bulks; farmers will estibate the demand better as they know what the women would cook.

The co-operative of the women could own a mobile phone to communicate with suppliers.

Lunch Menus: The cooperative of women could start with a menu of a couple of different meals and instructions how to prepare them.

Additionally, I like the idea of the fixed menus by the DreamDinners.

Distribution: lunch boxes are distributed to the families who signed up to the program by local youngsters on bikes, who volunteer to do this and get a free lunch. This distribution channel could be used to sell the fortified panela- a local product made out of sugar cane as part of the lunch box.

Issues this concept is addressing:

- ”….As bad nutrition is one of the main causes of vulnerability to disease, ….” Grameen Creative Lab’s inspiration

- 23% of Caldas population are at risk of malnutrition.

- “The diet is a high carb diet. If you go to a neighborhood supermarket, you can see that the cheaper product there are the sugars and carbs and the most expensive are the vegetables and the meat. That's why their diet is high in carbohydrates and low in animal protein and fiber”, as mentioned by Luz Alba Gallo in her inspiration about the eating habits in a low-income community in Bogotá).

Resources/this concept leverages:

Women as the center of society: The idea of the cooperative is inspired by Juan Cajiao and his post “Latin America’s poverty has a woman’s face He talks about the role of the women (quote from the inspiration):

- They lead families setting the religious and societal values.

- They keep the community connected through their networks sharing knowledge (and gossips).

- They buy and prepare the food holding the ability to improve the family health.

- Their health during pregnancy determines the child health.

What is needed for this concept to work?

Training: the women, members of the cooperative will need initial guidance what to cook and how to prepare the food by a nutrition specialist. The specialist shall be available for consultations via a cell phone. Knowledge in accounting is also acuired so that the business can survive.

Financing: The cooperative of women might take a small loan to purchase utensils for cooking, refrigerator and an efficient and sustainable cooker – like the solar cooker, Chillibreeze, (Ian Sullivan’s inspiration) or the Wonderbag™ - the heat retention cooker from South Africa.

How do you envision this idea making money?

Pricing:The idea could be to sell at a fixed price to the local people. As every lunch menu will have a fixed price, this will allow the families to plan. It will make the demand planning easier, transparent and predictable. I can imagine a possibility for a subscription, but might be difficult as liquidity is scarce amongst the poorest. It is important to figure out what is the price people would be willing to pay. In her inspiration “Huertas para todos”, Luz mentions that there are some economies of scale if people get together and share resources- “….Previous studies that led to this plan of planting home gardens showed that with only $ 5,000(colombian pesos) per day, the people of Popayan could feed up to six members of one family, the same amount of money is not enough money to buy healthy foods in supermarkets of neighborhood stores.”

How does this idea create social impact, particularly around improving health?

Through providing one nutritious meal day per family member who have signed up for the program. Special target audience: the children

How does this idea add social value at every step of the process?

Building the co-operative- share knowledge, education, share resources- build a strong community Cooking nutritious lunches- impacting eating habits Distribution- engaging the youngsters of the community to deliver the lunch boxes

What are the short term steps we could take to implement this idea tomorrow?

Build a community of women who want to prepare lunches together Find a place for the lunches to be cooked Provide training what to cook and how to cook Purchase a solar cooker or another efficient and sustainable cooker that the community at least will be proud of:-) Organise a bunch of youngster to do the distribution of the lunchboxes


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Perhaps such co-operatives are the ideal place to look for the Community Representatives suggested in "Want a holiday with a difference - Try a holiday that MAKES a difference!" The nutrition specialist could easily be a university student working on a project as part of their studies

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