Shanao Village Hub


LOCATION: Lima, Peru

SUMMARY: To create a regenerative, agroecology system, that integrates food, employment, and wellness, through a community-based village hub, while disrupting the linear manufacturer dominated cacao supply chain. With the objective to turn chocolate into conservation for the benefit of indigenous communities.

PROBLEM SPACE: The central issue our project addresses is poverty. Cacao is the region’s primary product. Whereas the finished product is of high value, commodity prices are driven down during the harvest cycle because of increased yield. The local communities get no benefit from the global luxury food industry as they have no ability to invest in, or opportunity to access these markets. Farmers are poorly paid at harvest and with no secondary source of income the ‘feast and famine’ cycle continues. Without no significant secondary income to address the off season ‘famine’ cycle, farmers are forced to resort to desperate slash and burn farming, illegal logging, and production of coca, a blight on the environment and the community at large. Foreign investment generally comes in the form of conservation that does not incorporate local communities or local economies vital for breaking the poverty cycle. The local infrastructure programs are rife with corruption and graft leaving little for the average farmer. With no meaningful access to education and with military service the only other option poverty is a generational problem. The San Martin district of Peru is geographically isolated and severely lacking in critical infrastructure. NGO and governmental initiatives where well-meaning are rarely whole system models and tend to be focused on, rather than initiated by the community. Infrastructure projects create cost but seldom opportunity. Corruption and graft are large parts of many government partner programs and global conservation initiatives concentrate on wild areas for programs like REDD often act to the detriment of indigenous peoples. Technology and education are the privileges of wealth that are mostly unattainable in rural communities and access to foreign markets are generally out of the scope of small farming groups. Globalization has increasing opportunities for large corporations and foreign investment firms but done little for indigenous people instead it has exploited them. The product of their labor is however highly prized and has a high return in the global supply chain.

SOLUTION: To create a stable secondary income, we need to implement a 3-year strategy, build a chocolate accelerator, and bind all with policy through our 501c3 to the village hub. Funding the village hub will allow us in year one to implement a data management policy with a custom build of opendatakit. This will be key for us to deliver consistent quality to the accelerator and the ability to fine-tune the product to markets and manufactures. It will also allow us to assist small-scale producers to enter the burgeoning bean-to-bar market. With good visibility of resource areas, the co-op will then begin to implement tree pruning, pest, disease and soil management strategies in the now funded off-season. After the data plan is in place, the co-op will move into phase two of the collection strategy which will involve mapping key waterways and use inverse resource maps to identify conservation corridors. The introduction of a community food plan will be included in this phase. Phase three will bring in the final two strategies. Local health policy including community dental funded by the co-op and expansion of conservation areas with our local charity partner CEPCO.

CONTACT: [email protected]