Professor Asparagus heads to Lima Peru
I, Wilma, aka Professor Asparagus, will begin blogging after my arrival in Lima, Peru end of January 2017. Please follow along and if you have any questions then feel free to pass them along.
For one year, I will be working with Red de Agricultura Ecológica del Perú, the partner organization, as a volunteer with CUSO International. My title is Capacity Development Advisor: Strengthening Lima’s Urban Farmers Markets.
Red de Agricultura Ecológica del Perú (Network of Organic Agriculture of Peru) or RAE for its acronym in Spanish was established in 1989 and works towards the promotion of development of organic agriculture. RAE is a nonprofit association that promotes and encourages the transition of Peruvian small farmers towards a competitive organic agriculture articulated into markets.
I will carry out social research and analysis for the partner organization to better understand the range of factors that contribute to the success of farmers’ markets in Lima. I will provide support and build the organizational capacity of Lima’s recently created Farmers’ Market Network. As such, the research aims to help producers and managers of farmers’ markets with opportunities to learn from each other’s experiences, as well as to consolidate the Network.
Their mission: “PROMOVER SOCIEDADES CON CULTURA AGROECOLÓGICA”
Valorando la agro biodiversidad, la defensa de la soberanía alimentaria, el cuidado y conservación de los recursos naturales y el fomento de mercados justos para productores y consumidores ecológicos como medios de superación de la pobreza rural.
Their vision: “NUESTRA VISIÓN ES CONSTRUIR”
“Sociedades democráticas, humanistas, saludables, competitivas y con elevada calidad de vida, manteniendo una actitud abierta al cambio, creativa, cohesionada, competente, pluralista, y descentralizada”.
Urban and peri-urban agriculture is reemerging worldwide as a strategy to simultaneously address and attenuate a diverse array of interrelated urban issues, especially those related to food, health, environment and income generation. In Lima, where urban and peri-urban agriculture is practiced, little in-depth data is available, and few systematization efforts have been undertaken.
Farmers markets, by offering a combination of aggregation, distribution, and marketing services, have the potential to make it possible for many urban farmers to access new, larger-volume markets that can increase their income and scale up production. In Lima, farmers’ markets have played a key role as direct marketing channels for urban agriculture fresh produce. They have also helped to raise awareness about healthy eating, food security, and organic agriculture, among others. Every week, many neighbors gather around these markets not only to buy fresh produce, but also to eat, talk, and engage in cultural and recreational activities. These farmers’ markets are revalorizing public spaces in the city. In addition, these markets play a key role in educating the public about the importance of urban agriculture in creating sustainable cities.
In Lima, most farmers’ markets have emerged from groups of organized neighbors or civil society associations and have overcome significant barriers: from the bureaucracy and reluctance of municipalities, the hostility of some neighbors and the standardization of the quality of products, to financial sustainability, among others. Due to the increasing demand for organic, environmentally friendly, healthy and short food supply chain products, there are exciting opportunities to strengthen and replicate these farmers market experiences.
In collaboration with representatives of Lima’s Farmers’ Markets Network, I will:
– Carry out social research, including a baseline assessment, to draft an improvement plan that will guide the farmers’ markets subsequent activities and ensure the replication of best practices
– Conduct field visits, interviews, focus groups and/or surveys (primary sources)
– Map out existing farmers’ markets and the different channels of commercialization of urban and peri-urban agriculture products
– Contribute to the development of standardized monitoring and affiliation criteria for producers and farmers’ markets (e.g. performance and quality standards, affiliation guidelines, common marketing expressions and capacity development)
– Validate market research findings and report with partners prior to dissemination