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Community agroecology for sustainable development

The experience was born with the purpose of contributing to the improvement of the quality of life of several families who needed to strengthen their productive processes and at the same time reduce costs in the family basket. After observing the living conditions and especially the role of women in food production, the idea was conceived and support was requested from the community action board of the village, and an external entity was brought in, which decided to contribute resources to support the process.

They opted for these alternatives thinking that they would be sustainable, viable and effective in contributing to the wellbeing of the community, to solve its most tangible problems, and also to mitigate the environmental impact of these actions. At the same time, this was the most feasible way to leave the capacity installed in the community, in such a way as to guarantee its continuity once the support of the external organization ended. 

Fundecos has participated in the development of this experience as an accompanying organization, the community action board as a representative body, with which some aspects are agreed upon, and the beneficiary community.

The actions implemented are aimed at changing the traditional culture of consumption and project the use of other energy sources for food and crop production, for the transformation of food under concepts of food sovereignty, agroecology, eco-efficient stoves and community production of organic fertilizers using by-products from the farm.

Forms of organization based on rotating work, the contribution of communities, bartering and convites are proposed as social relations enhancers.

Technical characteristics of the proposal

A process was initiated in the village of La Palma, where 10 eco-efficient stoves have been built and are in operation, each one accompanied by an established woody orchard with 50 trees. At the same time, each family has its own home garden, which is fertilized with organic fertilizers produced by the community. However, the biofactory was installed in a basic way, which produces about 300 liters of liquid fertilizer to be distributed among the families of the village every two months, which is a little scarce to apply to their coffee and other crops such as bananas, cassava and fruit trees.

In this sense, the need is expressed to strengthen the community biofactory and home gardens, taking into account that they are basic units for food production as a source of energy, in addition to reducing production costs, environmental and health impacts generated by the use and application of agrochemicals.

The biofactory can be strengthened through training, provision or delivery of bins and implements for the preparation of organic fertilizers.

Productive, community, environmental, or economic processes or activities that were positively impacted by the implementation of the community experience of TEJ.

For the families that managed to be served with this strategy, the savings with each of the lines is significant; on the one hand, with the eco-efficient stoves they save $85,000 of a gas pipette each month, depending on the number of members in the family. It is also important to mention the reduction in other environmental impacts for families that cook with traditional wood stoves, not to mention the health problems caused by smoke emissions and quality of life.

At the same time, with the production of organic fertilizers, each family saves $600,000 per month in fertilizers, because with the farm’s by-products and a coordinated work between the community it is possible to prepare different biols and compost.

Regarding the home garden, it is estimated that the savings in food costs range between $100,000 and $150,000 concerning vegetables and fruits, which are always fresh, at hand and free of chemicals, in addition to the background of the work of the garden where family and community ties are strengthened.

Beneficiaries of the experience

33 women, 25 men, 6 adolescents and young adults (between 12 and 18 years of age), 15 children (between 0 and 12 years of age)

  1. Significant contributions to a change in cultural practices related to environmental conservation and community work.
  2. Family ownership of organic fertilizer production and food sovereignty.
  3. Mitigation of environmental impacts produced by daily actions and generation of environmentally friendly practices.
  1. The arrival of the pandemic caused by Covid-19, delayed the processes and generated shortages in inputs and increased prices of other inputs such as plant material, plastics and others.
  2. Rainy weather conditions sometimes did not favor the establishment of home gardens, for which various strategies had to be adopted.

Women’s participation in the TEJ community experience

Yes, 90% of the population that energizes the process are women, they encourage the participation of other women who join the process and thus, learning is recreated around various activities that guarantee the sustainability of the process over time.