Authors: Skyler Kriese*, Santa Clara University, Christopher M Bacon, Department of Environmental Studies & Sciences, Santa Clara University, Maria Eugenia Flores Gomez, Environmental Justice and Common Good Initiative, Santa Clara University, Misael Rivas, PRODECOOP, Rudis Antonio Espinoza Bejarano, PRODECOOP, Nick Chan, Santa Clara University, Erica Martinez, Santa Clara University, Annalicia Anaya, Santa Clara University, Gabi Hamm, Santa Clara University, Gabi Ballardo, Santa Clara University
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Food Systems, Gender
Keywords: Nicaragua, Central America, agroecology, diversification, dietary diversity, food sovereignty
Session Type: Poster
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After decades of investment in farm diversification, Nicaraguan smallholders need more evidence to identify how this relates to food security, gender relations, and climate resilience. In 2009, PRODECOOP, a coffee cooperative union representing 10,000 people, formed an alliance with university researchers and development agencies to use participatory action research, agroecology and direct investments to address the aforementioned issues. As part of this process, we researched the following questions: 1) Which farm diversification strategies are Nicaraguan smallholders using? 2) How do diversification practices start? 3) What are the relationships linking diversification activities to food security, dietary diversity, gender relations, and climate resilience?
We draw from several cycles of mixed-methods research, including a livelihoods and farm survey (n=171) in 2017. We followed with 18 months of on-farm monitoring with a subset of 50 farmers visited multiple times per year by community-based promoters. We also conducted 20 focus groups and coded documents from the cooperative partner. We then analyzed interview transcripts and over 600 survey responses. We found that higher levels of diversification and beekeeping are important strategies to increase food security and household income, certified organic farmers are more resilient than conventional producers within the study area, and gender does play a role in farmer experiences. These findings will be combined with geo-referenced maps to develop reports requested by participating farmers to help them create agroecological farm resilience plans and contribute to PRODECOOP’s broader strategic plan for improving food security, gender equity, and food sovereignty.