Building Agro-Ecological Solidarity in Colombia

Uniting urban and rural voices for sustainable farming and fair trade

An exciting update is here on the ongoing project, “Agro-ecological Solidarity Supply Chains,” led by Proyectar Sin Fronteras (PSF), supported by Kyeema Foundation and Palladium through the Our Communities Fund. Through this project, PSF are creating a solidarity supply chain that encourages greater connectivity and participation around agroecology in rural and urban communities, enhances farmers’ work, guaranteeing strategic ecosystem conservation, and boosting intergenerational exchange, sharing Kyeema values of innovation and inclusivity for marginalised communities.

The key activities of this project include:

  • The certification of 25 producers through a Participatory Labelling System (SPG), catalysing their transition to agroecological production and strengthening environmental and socio-economic resilience.
  • Creating community-based gardens that integrate rural producers and urban neighbours, distributing solidarity food baskets, facilitating access to nutritious food, promoting self-sufficiency, and strengthening the social fabric of the community.
  • Guaranteeing stable income for agroecological farmers linked to the project by implementing a marketing and communication strategy for the Sembrando Confianza Market to increase sales of local ‘clean’ products.

Creating Improvement Plans for a Sustainable Future

The dedicated team embarked on a mission to transform 25 production units across 14 municipalities in Cundinamarca and Boyacá. They assessed each potential farmer’s land, water usage, and agricultural practices, developing tailored improvement plans for each production unit. These plans emphasized the implementation of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and agroecology principles to ensure safe and sustainable food production.

Empowering Farmers Through Knowledge Exchange

Knowledge-sharing became a catalyst for growth as the team-initiated activities to support Participatory Guarantee System (SPG) certification for selected farmers. This certification not only

guarantees the quality of their produce but also builds trust among consumers. Vibrant exchanges among farmers were facilitated, fostering mutual learning and growth. Technical, socio-business, environmental, and commercial aspects were explored together, strengthening their agroecological practices.

Forging a Strong Consumer-Producer Relationship

The project aims to create a meaningful connection between consumers and producers. A captivating conference titled “Cómo me vinculo con el campo desde la ciudad?” (How do I connect with the countryside from the city?) served as a platform to showcase the farmers’ hard work and dedication. It provided an opportunity for urban residents to engage directly with farmers, fostering a stronger bond and deeper appreciation for the food they consume. The event ignited a renewed sense of solidarity among participants.

Revamping Marketing and Communications

To ensure the long-term viability of the model, the team recognized the need to enhance marketing and communications. Improvements were made in logistics, eco-friendly packaging, and operational processes to deliver an exceptional customer experience. Social media played a pivotal role in reaching a wider audience. Engaging content highlighted farmers’ products, shared food preservation tips, and provided recipes to inspire culinary adventures. Partnerships with potential allies, including the Colombian headquarters of JPMorgan Chase, expanded the reach and impact of the project.

Sembrando Confianza Website revamp PSF 2022

Nurturing Vulnerable Communities

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, support was extended to vulnerable communities through the distribution of 300 solidarity food baskets. After conducting a thorough socioeconomic characterization, Tocaimita and Bella Flor neighborhoods in Ciudad Bolívar were identified as recipients. These food baskets not only provided nourishment but also symbolized the commitment to bridge the urban-rural gap. Furthermore, an environmental education cycle was initiated within these communities, empowering residents with knowledge on soil recovery, waste management, and syntrophic agriculture.

Our Communities Fund, PSF, Solidarity Baskets

Food distribution in Bella Flor, Ciudad Bolívar. PSF, 2022.

While progress has been substantial, the project faced a few challenges. Building improvement plans for each farmer took longer than anticipated as a participatory approach was prioritized, ensuring alignment with their unique practices and goals. Additionally, resource limitations required the engagement of additional volunteers for visits and on-site support.

The “Agro-ecological Solidarity Supply Chains” project has made significant strides in fostering connections between rural and urban communities through sustainable farming practices and fair trade. Empowering farmers, forging stronger consumer-producer relationships, revamping marketing and communications, and nurturing vulnerable communities have been integral to its success. Despite challenges, the project continues to inspire hope for a more sustainable and inclusive future.

For more information on this project or the Our Communities fund, reach out to us at kyeema@kyeemafoundation.org.