Grow the Farmer. Feed the Planet: Meet Encarnacion Fernandez from Bolivia
Bolivian farmer Encarnacion Fernandez teach Manqâa students the origin of their ecological vegetables
Encarnacion Fernandez, a small-scale producer and peasant leader from Bolivia, lives in the small town of Achocalla, located at 3750 meters above sea level in the department of La Paz. She grows ecologic vegetables and shows Manq’a students how she does that.
Encarnacion is a farmer who, through the association AFLOHPA, has been able to bring together more than 400 women and 100 producer families from different communities, who grow ecologic vegetables. Ecologic production in Bolivia is still limited and under-valued by consumers, which limits its presence in the marketplace and hinders its consumption.
Encarnacion and the more than 100 producer families that make up AFLOHPA supply lettuce, onion, carrots, potatoes and other vegetables to the Manq’a schools of El Alto, who transform these ingredients into delicious recipes from an approach of culinary rescue and valorization of local produce, providing healthy and responsible food. Within the Manq’a schools, at-risk youth get trainings in gastronomy and entrepreneurship, cooking only with locally produced organic ingredients. In this way local smallholder farmers also benefit.
Aside from supplying the schools, Encarnacion receives the students of Manq’a once a month to teach them how she produces her vegetables and to gift the students with an experience that brings them closer to the products with which they can later cook.
“With Manq’a I learned that, beyond their economic and commercial value, our products are also valuable as culture and heritage.”