BonaTerra Students' Agroecological Fair

BonaTerra Students' Agroecological Fair: Strengthening linkages between the rural and the urban by promoting agroecology

Guayaquil, EcuadorGuayaquil, Ecuador
Year Founded:
2011
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Established
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

BonaTerra is a space where organic agricultural producers, sustainable artisans and food manufacturers can exchange products with consumers and among themselves directly and fairly.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we could provide an space where consumers get to know the producers of their food and contribute directly to their economy, and maintenance of sustainable production?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Conventional agricultural practices are provoking a profound ecological crisis around the world. The growing use of toxic agrochemicals and unsustainable practices (i.e.: monocultures and burning of post-harvest residuals) are, not only having dramatic environmental effects, but also are linked to a wide range of human health hazards. This is, in part, due to the lack public awareness of the processes behind what they eat and use each day.

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

We created an organic fair that, besides granting access to healthy and high quality products, promotes regenerative farming systems that improve the well-being of local small-scale farmers, stimulates the production and consumption of local nontraditional products, making food production more environmentally sustainable and resilient to economic cycles. This platform only allows direct commercialization (without intermediaries), promoting greater equality, and knowledge sharing between farmers and costumers, and between farmers themselves. The fair has become a space well costumers and farmers, artisans and artists can catapult their ideas and products, creating empathy between different sectors of our society.

Awards

Winners of the national contest of innovative commercialization systems organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and other international organizations (https://www.facebook.com/feriabonaterra/posts/819668701487421)
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

In general, farmers in many underdeveloped countries receive unfair economic compensation for their hard work. By providing a direct commercialization platform, farmers will benefit directly from the fruits of their work, while at the same time providing toxic free products to hundreds of costumers at a fair price for both. Farmers receive external training by people who have grown interest for BonaTerra, and share sustainable production practices among themselves and with the costumers. Customers who believe in the project, share their knowledge in health, nutrition, and cooking, promoting more sustainable and healthy society.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The first fair was held in November 26 of 2011 in the Balandra Cruz del Sur School, with the participation of 20 local producers and an estimate of 150 assistants. Currently, more than 70 fairs have been held, providing a direct sales channel to more than 38 local entrepreneurs such as organic farmers, green artisans and sustainable food producers. We estimate that more than 18.000 people has participated in BonaTerra since the beginning, which resulted in sales over $130.000, that benefit the entrepreneurs directly. BonaTerra keeps growing at a high level. We receive over 20 applicants per week, who have to pass a participatory selection process, in which all the members of the fair have a voice and vote. Costumers claim for a replication of the fair in other parts of the city.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We want to expand the beneficiaries of BonaTerra, including consumers and entrepreneurs. This year we realized of the potential of BonaTerra to catapult sustainable entrepreneurs, and not only support local farmers. We are seeking for responsible artisans and food processors that increase the diversity of the fairs offer, but keep are principles intact. Many small entrepreneurs need a constant place to sell their products, and with a specific market that values quality and sustainability. Replicating the fair in other parts of the city, will expand our capacity to promote a better lifestyle.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The current strategy is expand the amount of the entrepreneurs who participate in the fair and to intoduce new ways of producing income. Since the cost of helding a fair are relatively the same independent of the amount of participants, having more entrepenuers will increase our sustainability. Also, we plan to provide paid workshops for schools and individuals who want to learn about urban agriculture, healthier ways to make lunches, and more.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There is a growing amount of local fairs that give space to artisans and small businesses. However, they lack an effective selection criteria and process aimed at promoting health and sustainability, and they aren’t constant which affects entrepreneurs and costumers, since the firsts don’t have a permanent channel where to sell their products and the have to pay a lot to be part of them. We propose a constant platform, in which all participants are collectively and extensively analyzed, in order to keep BonaTerra’s quality and credibility.
Team

Founding Story

BonaTerra was born in 2011, with the participation of Fundacion In Terris, Balandra Cruz del Sur School and the active collaboration of local organic producers, artisans and sustainable food processors. The students picked the name and have participated since the beginning. The idea was to offer direct sales channel to many producer we worked with before who, in spite of having healthy and sustainable production process, lacked a formal space where to sell their products. Their production was sold through conventional methods, granting no special recognition to their processes, and with the participation of intermediaries, who got most of the profit and pay them poorly.

Team

Juan Pablo Arguello, is an advisor of Fundacion In Terris, and is the current coordinator of BonaTerra. He is a consultant in Sustainable Development and Public Policy with over 7 years of professional experience in developing community projects. Graduated as a Bachelor in Political Science, he has been working with local organic producers for several years in providing a space for the direct and fair exchange of products between agricultural producers and responsible consumers. Karolina Meza is also part of the Coordination team, a student in environmental engineer who has worked in several projects related to waste management and rural development. BonaTerra is led also by the In Terris Board Members (Margarita Fioravanti, Marcos Fioravanti, Maria Elonor Basantes, Maria Judith Manzur, Paulina Manzur, Alexandra Vanoni and Luis Durand). The students of Balandra Cruz del Sur are an important support the logistics of the fair, fundraising and support to small rural producers.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Friend in facebook

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Advisor and Coordinator

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

Decent Work and Economic Growth, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

I have worked previously in the development of proposals of public policy related to the efficient use of natural resources by private companies, the inclusion of marginalized ethnic groups in the labor force, and the recognition of the rights and positive action in favor of women and the LGBT community. I was awarded by the Provincial Government of Guayas for the development of a sustainable tourism proposal that promoted cultural tourism in other areas aside from the main cities.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

We received the important support of Marcos Fioravanti, President of Ambiente Creativo Consulting Company, an exceptional social entrepreneur and environmental advisor, who was an essential element of the foundation team. All the members of BonaTerra provide ideas and help implement projects aimed at making BonaTerra better every day.

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