Community Agroecology Network’s (CAN) Food Security & Sovereignty in Las Segovias, Nicaragua project was selected as a finalist for the 2015 Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) Sustainability Award. Roseann Cohen, executive director of CAN, Maria Eugenia Flores, project manager, Christopher Bacon, CAN affiliated researcher and assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences at Santa Clara University; and Merling Preza, general manager of PRODECOOP traveled to Seattle for the awards presentation at the SCAA 2015 annual meeting. While there, Maria Eugenia also presented the project at the Innovations in Sustainability Panel.

CAN’s project contributes to the long-term sustainability of the coffee industry in three ways. First, it promotes food sovereignty in coffee growing communities, which means healthy and stable families and communities who are able to stay on their land and make a livelihood from coffee and food production, and benefit from improved nutrition. This in turn makes the coffee supply stable. Second, this project supports improved coffee quality and long-term ecological sustainability of coffee production by promoting improved soil fertility and improved coffee shade management practices that also result in increased availability of diverse foods at the farm level. Finally, the project promotes stronger farmer cooperative organizations and their capacity to enhance the well-being of their members.

Project Details

The Food Security and Sovereignty Project in Las Segovias, Nicaragua is a collective initiative funded over the last 5 1/2 years by Keurig Green Mountain and implemented through a long-time partnership model integrating participatory action research and agroecology with cooperatives between CAN, PRODECOOP. R. L, a second level coffee cooperative, CIIASDENIC, a local nonprofit organization, and Nicaraguan and U.S. based universities. It aims to reduce and eventually eliminate seasonal hunger with 1,500 family farmers in 18 smallholder cooperatives. Core strategies includes sustainable solutions managed and owned by the cooperative to re-localize control over the local food system and reduce vulnerability to climate shocks.

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