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Socially and environmentally responsible agroecological practices in indigenous organic coffee production in Colombia

Authors: Consuelo Guayara Sanchez*, The University of Iowa
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Indigenous Peoples, Agricultural Geography
Keywords: Organic coffee production, agroecological practices, environmental practices, indigenous knowledge
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper presents the case of agroecological practices-based organic coffee production in an indigenous territory in Colombia. Though with a limited impact on unjust economic structures, not confronting “the root causes of hunger poverty, and inequity,” and reproducing dependencies from an international market and buyer, a number of indigenous organic producers remain committed to socially and environmentally-friendly practices in the production of a clean, safe product for an imagined community of international consumers. By meeting the requirements of an organic seal, however, these coffee producers guarantee improvements on their livelihoods, the production of healthy food for their families and neighbors, and enact environmental practices to protect soils, water, and biological diversity, as a way to combat climate change. A dynamic indigenous knowledge interacting with other knowledges underlies these social and environmental practices. This paper is based on in-depth, semi-structured interviews I conducted with organic coffee producers, association officials, officials from regional and local organizations in charge of supporting coffee producers, as well as plot walks, during the summers of 2017, 2018, and 2019.

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