Unión Cooperaria Cololó

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Unión Cooperaria Cololó

Uruguay
Project Stage:
Scaling
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Mario Costa is creating an alternative model of communitarian agricultural production that provides a sustainable source of income and dignified existence for all of its inhabitants, while at the same time allowing for the care and social re-integration of abandoned and orphaned children.

About Project

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

An agronomist by profession, Mario Costa is demonstrating that it is possible to create sustainable farming businesses run jointly by human services professionals, farmers, and abandoned and orphaned children. He is also demonstrating that this setting, organized on a communitarian basis, is ideal for providing the children with a healing and caring environment in which to grow up, and the social and technical skills needed to move on into society as productive young adults. Mario is piloting these ideas on a formerly-defunct cooperative farm in an agricultural region of western Uruguay, where he aims to show that declining rural areas can be revitalized by young people capable of and committed to living on the land.Through three decades of work in human services, agricultural extension, and communitarian methods of production, Mario has integrated a number of insights that together make his current initiative unique in its approach. First, he has found that children in public and private care institutions fare better when they feel that they are part of a community, when they can identify with something larger and purposeful. Second, he has seen that as the children of farmers migrate to the city in ever greater numbers, there is an older generation of farmers with no one to whom they can pass their skills. Third, the cities and the urban economy simply cannot absorb the swelling populations of rural migrants. Fourth, many of his friends and colleagues caring for children in institutions are very open to re-locating to rural areas should that offer better conditions for the children.Mario is putting into practice his beliefs and insights in a project intended to cause a major shift in the organization of farming cooperatives and the care of abandoned and orphaned children in Uruguay and beyond. He has taken over a failing farm organized on a cooperative basis and transformed it into a model caring center for children. The children's home-cum-collective farm is showing a profit, thanks in part to the large numbers of neighboring farmers he has involved as friends, advisors and occasional contributors to the project.