Colombia: self-sufficient farmers – eco tourism, organic products – complete documentary


They live an almost self-sufficient life. Their ingenuity and entrepreneurship fascinates me. This is the story about a farmer’s association near Bogotá called: Subachoque farmer’s agricultural association (A.R.A.C.). Their appreciation of life time is the most important basis of every member’s actions. The idea to build a membership with other farmers came across about five years ago. When we met first we were a small group of farmers who had different experiences with organic farming. Together we decided to find ways to commercialise our products, as we needed to source incomes… …to pay our transport and improve our production. Together we decided to found an association. Similarily, we started to learn about the convinience of working in an organisational structure. Working in cooperation with other members became a fundamental part of our processes. We have members for example that do not produce yet, but they are keen to learn how to work in teams. All the work we have is shared among the members as you can see here at the market. Sometimes I am here another time there will be other colleagues, so we rotate our duties,… …even we do not earn anything, but they help to build team qualities. I think this is the biggest advantage of this association. We became a big family and we all learned a lot from each other,… collaborating in agricultural projects and collaborations with universities and interested persons. Today I am in La Pradera, which is 90 minutes out of Bogotá. I would like to… Hello, good morning…I am doing a video. Oh I am sorry…Would you like to have breakfast? Where? Here please. So I will take a seat here and I will get breakfast soon. I would like to create an eco turism project with the farmers here, where people can stay at… …people can live with them and do some ecological activities. I am at Don Juan’s house and I will see what we will do today. This is Changua, a very traditional soup for breakfast. I see boiled eggs, broth mixed with milk… …very traditional. Then I have the famous combination of cocoa with cheese and bread. And there…some cheesecake. Let’s go for the taste. Let me taste the broth of the changua. It is salty and has great taste of the herbs. A well-balanced soup, which presumably shall give enough energy for the day. Does it energize me for the day? Yes, sure. Which herbs are in there? It has cilantro. I have to look up cilantro but she also told me that it has onions. Cocoa It is very sweet. I think it is based on water…”Is this based on water”? It contains also milk. There are persons who only like to drink it with water. We are 2.700 metreshigh so you need someting to warm up. So you can get warm in the morning. This is cheesecake. Freshly baked. They made it yesterday. Yesterday, when I was talking to Don Juan I smelled it already. Delicious…beautifully creamy… Just how I like it. From La Pradera we are going to the market of Subachoque with Don Juan. Here at the market of Subachoque we will set up our stand. You can see the first eggs have arrived. Daniel? Could you just tell me for the video what this is? This is the bio-fertilizer “Super Magro”. It is enriched with minerals, I call it “multi-mineral”, as it contains 54 minerals. It is also enriched with microorganisms of the mountains here. I made a sirup from all this. So this is good for all types of cultivation, as it stimulates the flowering. It helps to improve our imune system, we are very healthy and we don’t need much medicine. We don’t get ill as we gain a lot of strengh from eating vegetables treated with this. Basically, it is a wine made from shit. It is fermented. Let’s show. Let’s… Smell! Wow, this is very strong. It is wine from cow shit. Lamierdadevaca.com – the cow shit.com The essentials about organic agriculture. The farmers are strongly organised. Each weekend a group of three members attend the market. So every 6 weeks each of them attends. They sell the products of all members. In the background we see lettuce, and each row is from another farmer. To recognize whose lettuce was sold they use coloured threads to hold the lettuce together. So yellow is Juan’s lettuce and green is somebody else’s. Sometimes they are better organised than people from the city. I was born in La Pradera a small town. My Youth… Right after I could walk I went onto the street with nothing but my pants on. What did one encounter in these times? “Hey, give me a cent, give me a peso”… …poverty. My mother had 10 sons, I was the fifth. There is no bad fiver as we say. Then, of course… I grew up doing small jobs for people who had local businesses. They asked me “hey son, could you just help these porters”. Like this, I carried some Pesos home to my family, every day. In these times there was no asphalt road between Subachoque and La Pradera. There was only a path leading through the farm lands. So there were no vehicles going to La Pradera, no transport. When people needed to travel to Bogotá they had to come here in the morning. I helped them carry their things back and forth as they needed to go back where they lived. Like this, I earned my first Peso-cents. I got introduced to five families that owned 8.000ha of land. The hacienda of the Barrillas. There were five owners of that hacienda. Each December they came to the hacienda inviting their families. So they asked me to carry “casca” (turf) up to the hill where the hacienda was. Today they call this “turba” and it helps fighting parasites. They were like: “Juan, please go and get some thorn bushes”, so that e.g. dogs could not enter the crop. They paid 2 cents per bush. It was like: “get me a bag, get me this and that”. (not sure about the translation here) So you carried as much as you could and in the end of the day you got your 6-8 Peso-cents for your family. Later they put me into preschool and we bought me a chalkboard. I didn’t have money for a proper tool to delete my notes, so I only had a cheap alternative. So my chalkboard got damaged in the first semester and in the second I couldn’t go to school without one. Remember my mum was poor and she couldn’t effort another one plus other school utensils. So she was like: “go work on the fields, carrying wheat or whatever”. Cundinamarca’s economy was strongly driven by farmwork and wheat production. The states of Narino and Boyaca were similar. Nowadays… …it is more a executive region. So any government of Colombia terminated individual agricultural life in some way. I visited the farmers three times already and I have met new members. Each of them could tell an interesting story and life goals. The rustique calm of the region close to the modern metropolis of Bogotá attracts both domestic and foreign visitors. Here one can directly live with the farmers, discovering their world. Enjoy organically produced food and a great choice of excursions into the mountains. They sell their goods on the market or directly in Bogotá. This is amazing! Gosh Don Profe, please send us these tomatoes once they are good to eat. Each of them has equal rights and has specific knowledge. Don Profe for example produces honey and a lot more. The hacienda of Andres is quite inviting. Together with his wife and two little daughters he has set up a wonderful idyl, … …where he produces cheese and yoghurt and where guests can seemlessly take part in his life. It is a very simple life that will help visitors open their eyes for the important things in life. This field is a new one. Initially it was just grasland (pasture) for cows. Now we clear this field manually. So we don’t use machines. It is hard work as the roots are very strong as you can see. They go very deep. You need to… …I am using this tool. …a tool for… We use this tool, to do this work like you can see. So I will free them first…its always a little tough. Like this… Later… Later, we would take out the roots. Very strong roots. We need to take them out first in order to produce anything on these fields. I will take these roots to another place to dry them out. Yeah, like this. This space will be spared for grasland. It is a lot of space I need to work on and this tool is not easy to handle. You need to be very strong…look…very strong. The root closes the gras. I think I will try to get another tool to free the soil here. There are some space where I worked on already. Basically, I would like to start an agriculture of… …treating the soil with love, without making strong interventions. We take care about the soil here. Ok, so… This is it. I am invited to the house of Dani. Since little time he joined the association and is specialist for fertilizers and slow food. With his girlfriend, a yoga teacher, and her kids he lives just a few miles from the market of Subachoque, near Bogotá. Reasons for the unification of the farmers here are higher income, less risk and lower end-consumer prices. A higher life-quality is the result for every member. Hello, good morning. Say “good morning”. From Colombia…Chibcha, Muisca, natives of the earth, returing to nature…Pacha Mama (mother earth). I recommend everybody to experience these little idyls of the farmers themselves. Whoever is looking for warmth, honest hospitality and vitality, should visit the farmers of Subachoque. Natural…oat meal, pignut, almonds, organic panela and cocoa. From latinamerica…welcome, always. So until next time. Until next wednesday. Give me a thumbs up and write all the questions you may have into the comments. I will answer your questions and I also can give you free travel consultations. Until next time. Bye.

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