Pachamama is the term used by the Andean people to represent Mother Earth or Gaia. It is at the heart of the operating philosophy of Fundación Colonia Piraí (FCP), which has received €140,000 direct funding from Oikocredit to date - thanks to investments from private individuals and organisations.
In this one-of-a-kind project, young indigenous Bolivian people (nominated by their local community) attend free residential agricultural training at Colonia Piraí College. During their time here, they will learn the latest in holistic, sustainable farming techniques – cultivating soy, wheat, sorghum and producing eggs, milk and cold meats - which they then transfer back to their local community after graduation.
At any one time there will be around 160 students plus staff and local labourers (totalling 200) working at the Colonia Piraí community.
Whilst in residence, they cultivate the art of fostering a sustainable, self-sufficient community, following a similar ethos to that of Schumacher College in England and the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland.
Here, Dr Nimer Guzmán Rivas, Sub-Director of Colonia Piraí, is particularly proud that their produce is not genetically modified, stating: “We are amongst the 2% of producers in Bolivia who create and produce from our own seeds and produce”.
Most of what is produced at Colonia Piraí is sold back to the local community and in supermarkets throughout the Santa Cruz district in order to help fund the farm as separate from the agricultural college.
Follow updates about my tour here at our blog, or via www.twitter.com/OikocreditUK. And in the meantime meet one of Bolivia’s favourite species, the Toucan…