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Colombia Volunteer Log

May 27
Fourth Volunteer Assignment: Creat a Local Food Hub in Meta

Michael Morrow, Marketing Manager for the Hoosier Harvest Market in Indiana, worked with producers, government representatives, NGOs, business leaders, among other strategic actors, presenting the experience of the establishing a Community-Supposed Agriculture platform - the Hoosier Harvest Market. He promoted the importance of local food markets for sustainable agricultural development. This is the first step of the project Farmer to Farmer Colombia towards its goal to create of such a local food system in Meta. Such a system could provide the kind of rural development required to resolve many conflicts and development issues in this region. And, best practices from this approach can later be scaled to other regions of Colombia. Michael local market 2.jpg
Michael Morrow poses at a roadside farmers' market with bags of mangos

May 14
Our Second and Third Volunteer Assignments

​Our next two volunteers to the Meta department of Colombia were Dave Roberts, a grazing lands conservation specialist for USDA in New York State; and Anne Dare, a Purdue School of Engineering post-doc research associate specializing in waste water management. Anne and Dave in Altillanura.jpg

waste water management.

Apr 08
Our First Volunteer Assignment - Tallal Hassan Khan

​Tallal Hassan, an agricultural engineer specializing in water resources for the Government of Pakistan, currentlya Humphrey Fellow at Cornell University, carried out our first volunteer assignment on water conseration in Meta. The participating farmer organizations identified these issues, that Tallal helped them to address: 

  • High seasonality in the supply of water and the susceptibility of soils to degradation by erosion, compaction, desertification, acidification, and the high level of endemism in the area.
  •  Low levels of implementation of technologies for the storage and distribution of water in production systems
  • There is not a sustainable strategy for catchment, storage and efficient use of rain water in the area of work, which could may huge impact on productivity during the dry season.

Working with farmers, Tallal made the following recommendations for the Altillanura region:

1.      Farmers were recommended to use Land Based Rainfall Water Harvesting Systems for collecting water during rainy season. These systems include following:

a)      *Construction of storage ponds accordance to watershed area of the field. Simple and complete designing was taught to the farmers to design, construct and maintain the storage reservoirs countering the problems of infiltration and evaporation. Farmers are encouraged to construct water reservoirs and if possible make big reservoirs by joint collaboration of 2 or more farmers to overcome water shortage problem during dry period.

b)      Methods of improving water delivery systems from reservoirs to field and house were taught using natural gravitational flow and cost and operational efficient way to deliver water. 

1.      *Farmers are recommended to upgrade the ground water exploration system from tradition water wells to modernize tube well systems. Operation and benefit of tube well operation was described to the farmers and cost benefit ratio was estimated to show the benefits of tube well over simple well in long term perspective and irrigation to crops in summer season.

2.      *Farmers are encouraged to make micro catchments around plants especially fruit plants because it makes easy to irrigate plant during dry season as well with less water application they can meet the crop water requirement.

3.      For rainy season they can make eyebrow type micro catchments in direction of water flow which will not only help in stopping water near plant root zone for water requirements as well will help in preventing soil erosion.

4.      *Farmers are encouraged to do plotting of their farms and plant trees on edges of those plots which will help in retaining water in soil root zone and will provide natural barrier against high speed wind, a major cause of soil erosion and evaporation.

Please see this Facebook Page for photos!

Tallal and Farmers.jpg

Dec 02
Purdue-Unillanos Farmer to Farmer (F2F) Small Farms and Food Hub Focus

What is the Small Farms and Food Hub Focus?

TRaul Finca Portrait.jpghe Purdue-Unillanos F2F Small Farms and Regional Food Hubs Country Project will help to support a vibrant ‘small farm’ subsector in the Department of Meta, through food hubs and other value chain support mechanisms. A ‘small farms’ approach promotes sustainable, community-based agricultural systems. This framework, which represents a newer approach also in the United States, was proposed by Unillanos and the organizations they work with. In discussing small farmer needs in terms of technical support; capacity building for farmer organizations; help with linkages to markets and secondary processing; and help with advocacy for support of small farmers, the small farms/regional food hub approach is a concept that responds very well to all of these needs. All of these represent the technical assistance currently requested from Unillanos and its partners, which, among others, will be host organizations for this project.

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 About this blog

Welcome to Purdue-Unillanos Farmer to Farmer! You can post blogs about your experiences in Meta, volunteering for F2F at Purdue. You can also comment, or ask questions, about the experiences of volunteers.