Peacebuilding through community gardening
Caquetá has been home to some of the most continuous conflict Latin America has seen in the last decades. The Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC), a communist militia, fought for change from 1964 until 2016. A peace accord was signed between FARC and the government, but there is still lingering distress throughout the country. Tens of thousands have been displaced, drug cartels threaten to move in on the illicit coca market the FARC once controlled, and families are going hungry.
This project, resulting from participatory engagement with stakeholders in the region, engages conflict-affected individuals from all sides to build a community garden in the pursuit of environmental sustainability and peace. The community-centered approach and process will be documented in a book to be both published and distributed across Colombia for Colombians, bringing light to the hope and promise of continued peace that the project represents. This work convenes victims of the conflict and former combatants of the conflict, both former FARC and former military.
Through collaboration with SENA (Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje, or National Training Service), we have finalized a contract between a small agrarian community and a local grocery store chain, Primo, in which the community will be cultivating lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers with a new hydroponics system provided by our grant. SENA will continue to partner with us in training the community members in the use of the new system and other critical sustainable practices. This project builds on empirical research conducted by the Institute on the Climate Change, Conflict, and Migration (CCM) Nexus. We will expand to beekeeping in the next phase of the project and continue to grow this work across regions historically affected by conflict.