Improving nutrition and addressing deficient diets in the Andes.
- Popayan, Colombia
- Community partner since 2015
- 200 families
Asociación Nuevo Futuro is a coffee-growing organization with strong participation from their members. The 200 families of Nuevo Futuro are spread out across five municipalities in the department of Cauca, and organized into local boards that share information and provide ‘farmer to farmer’ technical assistance. Luz Elva Chacon is leading Nuevo Futuro’s dynamic community of farmers to create and sustain our food security program.
While most of our community partners struggle with food scarcity, Nuevo Futuro faces different challenges: a lack of diversity in a diet that’s heavy on starches, and a heavy reliance on processed foods and carbohydrates. Volatile coffee prices, high coffee production costs, and rising food prices – which have increased 41% over the past 8 years – has left the community extremely vulnerable to food insecurity.
Our initial research showed that 85% of families have consistent access to food, and the organization encourages members to diversify their farms and grow food staples. This access, combined with a local board structure for providing technical assistance, makes Nuevo Futuro an organization ready and able to make changes in their communities.
Food 4 Farmers was brought in to jointly design and build a long-term food security program, manage long-term, community-appropriate strategies to overcome food insecurity, and identify indicators to monitor and measure success. Nuevo Futuro members wanted to understand basic food security concepts like balanced diets, and reconnect with their traditional food heritage.
Our implementing partners include Corporación Nueva Ruralidad, an organization that specializes in developing, training, and advising farming organizations and their members in sustainable agriculture projects. Based in Bogota, Colombia, their mission is to promote sustainable livelihoods in rural communities. We’re also partnering with Engineers Without Borders, which is working with the community to design and install prototype water catchment systems using locally available and affordable materials.
Together with Nuevo Futuro, we developed the following tools and strategies to help the community improve food security, nutrition, and livelihoods:
- A food security curriculum to educate families (targeting women, because they purchase and prepare family means) about healthy diverse diets, and food storage techniques to prevent waste. We trained Nuevo Futuro staff to facilitate these workshops and embed this knowledge within the community.
- Home gardens with water management systems. Members had reported water issues as a key challenge to sustaining home gardens over time.
- Chicken and egg production to provide a regular source of protein for families, and supplement income from local sales.
- Farm diversification to reduce reliance on coffee, improve nutrition, and supplement income by selling excess produce at local markets.
Community Highlight: Katerine Orozco
Nuevo Futuro’s food security coordinator Katerine Orozco has energized the program since joining in 2017, reaching out to families and organizing community promoters to expand its reach.
With her guidance, Nuevo Futuro families are now actively participating in local farmers’ markets, learning how to harvest rainwater and efficiently irrigate their gardens, and transitioning to organic farm practices. Katerine is organizing community-wide gatherings to celebrate food sovereignty, nutrition, traditional crops and recipes, water, health and nutrition — all hosted by Nuevo Futuro.