Argentina

Agroecology for women: La Verdecita

Agroecology for women: La Verdecita

In homage to Isabel (Chabela) Zanutigh. “From the political and social militancy of the seventies, with a feminist perspective and practice and the right to food as an objective, these womenlittle greens they managed to buy some hectares that they transformed into an agroecological farm, a consortium of small producers and an agroecology school, spaces from which they build other paradigms with the liberation of women and the de-commodification of nature as a horizon. "

Summary

From a historical point of view, women have deployed strategies to conserve and restore nature in order to sustain the reproduction of life. With this vital function as a destination, there are many women who daily build other ways of being in the world and relating to nature, walking towards food sovereignty with agroecology as a tool. The creators of the La Verdecita agroecological farm, located in the Argentine province of Santa Fe, are an example of this. From the political and social militancy of the seventies, with a feminist perspective and practice and the right to food as an objective, these womenlittle greens They managed to buy some hectares that they transformed into an agroecological farm, a consortium of small producers and an agroecology school, spaces from which they build other paradigms with the liberation of women and the de-commodification of nature as a horizon.

Food sovereignty, ecofeminism and womenlittle greens

In tune with their historical role as providers, women have been building experiences tending to food sovereignty, understood as the right of the population to produce and consume healthy and culturally appropriate food, obtained with ecologically sustainable methods that have agroecology as a tool. Born within the social organizations, food sovereignty is an alternative food system to agro-industry, just as ecofeminism [1] is an alternative to the patriarchal system of domination over women and nature.

Ecofeminism, agroecology and food sovereignty are the pillars of the experience of the La Verdecita agroecological farm, located on the border between the urban and rural ejido, in the horticultural belt, 4.4 km north of the city of Santa Fe, Argentina. The civil association La Verdecita, made up mostly of women, grew and in 2008 became the Consortium of Small Producers of La Verdecita, today made up of sixty families that produce fruits and vegetables without pesticides on the lands of the most of whom are not owners. This is how they are presented in theirblogspot:

We are a group of independent men and women brought together from the conviction that people in general, and women in particular, deserve a free, dignified, sovereign and happy life […]. Food sovereignty, the power to decide on our own body, the possibility of producing and consuming what we want, what we create, what we think, are not a distant utopia, but a daily practice. A practice of power, of freedom.

Womenlittle greens They are writing another story and, through the farm, the consortium of small producers and the school of agroecology, they open doors to production and training in that other way of producing, marketing, consuming and inhabiting the territory.

From history

One of the references of La Verdecita is Isabel Zanutigh, known as Chabela, because her social activism has marked the paths traveled by the women who are part of this experience. In the 1970s she was a member of the Center for Integration and Updating of Women (CIAM) and in 1985 she was one of the founders of the Housewives' Union, which had 80,000 members. With the 2001 crisis, the women of the union set out to get food boxes for impoverished families, and from that need for food the idea of ​​producing it was born. This required land, and in 2003 a group of women managed to buy two hectares in the horticultural belt of the city of Santa Fe with funds from international cooperation. Thus, they created an agroecological farm that allowed them to specify an alternative productive proposal and encouraged them to train in agroecology and to articulate with many organizations at the provincial, national and international levels. A tragic event that the city of Santa Fe experienced, the floods of 2003, caused La Verdecita to acquire an important role through the production and distribution of food, as well as the improvement of the homes granted to those displaced by the floods. , [2] which showed that an agroecological experience can respond to “natural” catastrophes with destructive social consequences.

From feminism

Womenlittle greens, who define themselves as feminists and criticize the current production model, find it difficult to agree on interests with the government institutions in the countryside, generally represented by men. For them, agriculture is sexist since it is represented by the so-called “men of the countryside”, who occupy the high positions in the union entities of that sector and in the Ministry of Agroindustry, which leaves women out of the spheres where decisions are made in the rural area. That is why, with an ecofeminist stance, these women propose to generate instances of representation and power within and outside the family to change the structures that oppress them and improve their access to training, economic income, healthy food, health and an environment not contaminated. That is why the women of the consortium are part of its executive committee, make decisions and make their voices heard.

Also, to be heard, these women have taken direct actions against the current production model (decided by men). In 2008 they cut the Belgrano Cargas railroad tracks, which carries soy from the producing areas to the port of San Lorenzo, as the women of La Verdecita denounced that "the soy train is the trafficking train." Convinced that in the territories devastated by monoculture the appropriation of women's lives and bodies is reflected, they expressed on that occasion: “The region became a great green desert strewn with poison. We stand up and fight like women do everywhere where the hunger for profit puts at risk the possibility of all kinds of life ”(Ercolano, 2009).


From agroecology

This group associates the struggle of women with agroecology, which it defines as follows:

[It is] a new paradigm of life and production, [which] questions the pillars of patriarchal capitalism, which women, and feminism in particular, have exposed in our struggles: androcentrism, ethnocentrism and anthropocentrism, that is, the world conceived from the centrality of a male, white, bourgeois, masculine and heterosexual human being.

It is not a technical proposal, but a “new (old) way of conceiving the world and the species that inhabit it and is the alternative to the problems of hunger, poverty, environmental degradation, social inequalities, with emphasis on the necessary change in gender relations ”(Ziliprandi and Zuloaga, 2014).

For this group, agroecology is also an anti-globalization movement since it promotes "productions close to the communities, revalues ​​all care activities and opposes hierarchies of knowledge, because the only possible construction is collective". For these reasons "agroecology, as a movement, as a science, as a new paradigm, presents us with a new channel where we can find the answers". [4]

Other ways of producing, transforming, marketing and training

Regarding production, collective work days are established on the farm in which productive tasks and food transformation tasks are shared, such as soil preparation, sowing, harvesting, slaughter of animals and processing. of sweets and preserves. Vegetables, cereals and oilseeds are produced on a small scale; smaller animals such as ducks and chickens are raised; honey, oil and preserves are produced. All these activities reflect the mixture between technical knowledge and peasant practices, including the meticulous observation of crops, own agroecological practices such as the association and rotation of crops, barriers and living fences, trap plants, aromatic plants and ground cover, among others. With these practices, "they go through a process of deepening and consolidation of agroecological production". [5]

The commercialization is carried out through orders from individuals, monthly fairs on the farm itself and once a week in the Progreso market in the city of Santa Fe, under the slogan "From the garden to the kitchen." In addition to selling food and handicrafts made on the farm, they sell items from other agroecological producers who are part of the consortium.

Regarding training, since 2010 the Agroecological Vocational School (EVA) has been operating on the farm, [6] a non-formal instance of training created at the initiative of the members of the farm, attended by the members of the consortium and any other producer, female or male, who wants to train. Promoted by the EVA, a course for promoters in agroecology is given through radio stations in the province of Santa Fe. [7] The school has different training instances: training in agroecological practices, an academic space for research and exchange, and another for associativism and cooperative management. [8]

In coordination with other organizations, La Verdecita has collaborated in the organization of training and exchange instances between women, such as the Orgullosmente Dignas meeting in 2007, which brought together women participating in socio-environmental conflicts from four provinces of Argentina in order to exchange experiences and realities, in addition to strengthening as women producers in their organizational walk. The farm was also the site of the Latin American Meetings of Rural and Urban Women for Food Sovereignty in 2005 and 2008, as well as the Open and Permanent Chair: Women and the Economy in 2009.

Women towards food sovereignty

Many women likelittle greens they daily construct that other paradigm that defends life on the planet, the liberation of women and the de-commodification of nature. And it is in this paradigm where the possibility of food sovereignty is born, which cannot do without the contributions that women, builders and guardians of knowledge about the conservation of native seeds, soils, biodiversity and so much other knowledge can and should make. that have been transmitted generationally and that they propose neither more nor less than to open paths towards the management of life. Women and nature are rebelling against the capitalist, patriarchal and colonial system, and they are committed to agroecology, ecofeminism and food sovereignty to defeat the agro-industrial model that strives to standardize our lives. This is what thelittle greens, that defend, with their practice, the freedom to decide on our territory and our body. For them, food sovereignty is nota distant utopia, but oneeveryday practice and collective, and is the alternative to social inequalities, the destruction of nature and the oppression of women.

By Patricia Agosto

Bibliography

Ercolano, C, 2009. “The voice of the earth”.Page 12, supplement12 hours, 6th of March.

Ziliprandi, E., and G. P. Zuloaga (coords.), 2014.Gender, agroecology and food sovereignty. Ecofeminist perspectives. Barcelona, ​​Icaria.

[1] Ecofeminism focuses its gaze on oppressive systems in relation to sex-gender and on the domination of nature by human beings (Ziliprandi and Zuloaga, 2014).

[2] In one of the documentaries of the Sustainable Argentina Program and the Ecosur Foundation, from the series "Women in conflict, environmental sustainability in Argentina from a gender perspective", they tell their story. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WC2j8kYeK4M#action=share

[3] See: http://www.todasantafe.com.ar/

[4] See: http://laverdecita.blogspot.com.ar

[5] See the document "La Verdecita: making the way towards agroecology": http://www.unosantafe.com.ar

[6] On the inauguration of the EVA in 2010, see: https://www.pagina12.com.ar/

[7] For this year's EVA projects, see the interview with Chabela Zanutigh: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_Ck539X_qQ

[8] To go deeper into these different training instances, see: http://escuelaeva.blogspot.com.ar/

Patricia Agosto is a member of the Pañuelos Popular Education Team in Rebeldia, Buenos Aires, Argentina.E-mail: [email protected]

Video: Agroecology in Cuba Lepore y van Caloen, 2017 - english subtitles (October 2020).