Grow and Cook: A Never Ending Cycle

In many parts of the world, people buy their food products in either neighbouring markets or supermarkets. While we usually give the price of products a high degree of importance, we rarely stop to think of where the products come from. We are often more preoccupied by the economic value of the products than the process required to deliver our products (e.g sowing the seeds, harvest, transport etc).

Historically, the Shipibo people of Santa Clara have produced their own food and thus only needed to buy complementary products from external sources. Nowadays, many factors, such as climate change, over-fishing and the degradation of soil quality, have impeded on Santa Clara’s nutritional self-sufficiency. Moreover, such conditions have caused the community to lose interest in ancestral farming knowledge and opt for other economic alternatives.

Alianza Arkana is currently collaborating with Santa Clara in order to strengthen the community’s food security through agroforestry practices and the promotion of durable local economies. One of the projects put in place to achieve this objective is the “Grow and Cook” program. This program is executed in direct collaboration with the youth of Santa Clara – the ones who are going to be responsible for Santa Clara’s food security in the near future.

One of the first steps of this program consisted in teaching the youth how their food is produced and the elements required to form a balanced diet. We soon realised that in order for the program to be truly effective and self-sustainable we would need create a permaculture site within the community. With the support of the Schmitz Foundation we have achieved this task and have seen the substantial improvement in the community’s food security and food sovereignty. This program leaves us with hope for the future of Santa Clara in terms of food security and creates an exemplary model for the Shipibo communities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sowing the seeds

 

Attending to the plants

 

A balanced meal from the garden

Sebastián De los Heros (Community Projects Development Coordinator)

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