I come from California, the birthplace of fancy—but unregulated and therefore technically meaningless—food buzzwords like local and natural. That said, my first reaction at these kinds of terms is a little bit of an eye roll. Moving to Bogotá, I wasn’t too concerned with finding an organic or local label. I find little buggies in my broccoli every week, which says to me that what I’m eating is probably more on the natural side. However, if I can directly support small operators who really are doing their best to organically and sustainably farm, all the better!
This past week I learned about a really cool non-profit organization who is using a CSA-type program in order to make a big social impact here in Bogotá. Sembrando Confianza, which translates to Seeds of Confidence, is a non-profit which seeks to help Bogotanos in two specific ways. Firstly, they provide education on healthier food habits and help neighborhoods in Bogotá install self-sustained, organic gardens. Secondly, they support already operating urban farmers by connecting them with a market.
Sembrando Confianza currently works with 30 local producers, all of which are located within the localities Bogotá. The idea of farming within this city seems impossible and it’s true that these producers face some interesting circumstances. At the information session, I heard stories about the incredible ways people are using what they have to make a living: some people grow lettuce on rooftops and one woman uses neighborhood green spaces so her five cows can graze.
However, space limitations aren’t the only obstacles these farmers face. Most of the producers are located in San Cristóbal, a very rough neighborhood in the south of the city where many families live in vulnerable circumstances—employment, security and adequate nutrition are daily concerns. Many of these producers had already been farming or making their products, but were unable to connect with a market because of serious challenges to transportation. Without a car (and a majority are without), it’s impossible to move products the hour and a half or so to more central parts of the city.
That’s why Sembrando Confianza’s work is so great—they’ve stepped in to connect these local producers with a wider market who can pay a fair price for the time and labor required to grow or make their products. In addition, the Sembrando Confianza organization trained these urban farmers on how to implement sustainable and organic practices and routinely ensure that they maintain these standards.
Next week I’m looking forward to eggs, fresh made yogurt and quinoa bread, as well as whatever vegetables and fruits have been harvested that week. Boxes are delivered to your home each Wednesday and range in price (based on the size and variety of products) from 35,000-70,000COP. Even better, you can add on various other items such as charcuterie, honey, and coffee.
If you live in Bogotá and want to try one of their weekly baskets, visit their website here. And before you go, use the comments section to give a shout-out to a small, local business—whether it’s food, a local designer or artist—that you love here in Bogotá.