Nuquí is located in the gulf of Tribugá in the Chocó department of Colombia and is surrounded by dense rainforest and other waterways including rivers and coastal estuaries. The majority of people in Nuquí are Afro-Colombian and Indigenous Embera.
Protectores de la Tierra (Protectors of the Earth) is a farming and food sovereignty project that aims to cultivate and (re)-cultivate over 100 acres of Black-owned land in order to feed the community of Nuquí and other local communities in the gulf of Tribugá.
There are no highways that reach this area of Colombia. The only way in and out of the village is by boat or small airplane. Prior to rapid urbanization, Indigenous tribes and later Afro-Indigenous and afro-Colombian communities in the region sustained themselves on healthy foods and medicines harvested directly from the surrounding lands and waters: fish, fruits, vegetables, and other medicinal herbs. A generation ago, with increased access to motor boats and air transport, farmers began exporting these products out of the region.
Communities in the region began importing outside products such as already-dried rice and beans, or grain products such as pasta. While these imports increased the amount of low-cost food and variety to the region, local farmers became unmotivated to compete with mass production prices. Today, however, we see problems emerge whenever prices go up or when transit becomes restricted. In addition, many of these highly processed products ended up replacing nutrient-rich fresh food. At this time, with an ever-increasing tourism community, Nuquí has become much more reliant on outside food sources and therefore reliant upon the fluctuating sociopolitical climate of the country and world. The global pandemic and the Colombian national strike are examples of world events that threatened Nuquí’s already fragile food sourcing. This issue is one of the driving motivations for co-founders, Yura Sapi and Yowar Mosquera’s organizational mission: instead of relying upon outside sources for food, many of whom import highly processed or sugar-concentrated foods, Protectores de la Tierra aims to rebuild local food production in order to bring healthy food production back into the hands of the local community.
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