A Day in the Fields of an Environmental Movement

Grace Partridge - Ecuador


March 21, 2019

My internship at Vibrant Village Foundation provides me with many unique
opportunities to learn about environmental conservation, including the
chance to witness action on the forefront of the agro-ecology movement in
Ecuador. Yesterday, what started as simple office work turned into a field
trip to farmers’ markets, an organic *almuerzo (lunch)* restaurant, and the
chance to help facilitate a workshop to organic farmers in Ibarra.

While assisting a woman working on her thesis in the VVF office, Anna, cut
construction paper into tiny squares, she invited me to accompany her to
one of the ten workshops she was doing in the Imbabura region. Thinking it
would be a reprieve from a day of office work, if nothing more, I agreed.
Two hours later, we were sitting in La Choza, a light-filled restaurant
that served traditional Ecuadorian lunches, but with a twist: as much of
the ingredients as possible are purchased from organic, local farms.

After a fresh and colorful lunch, we visited a couple of farmers’ markets
and chatted with the women selling their produce. Filled with fresh, local
goods, the market was a testament to the work being done in sustainable
family fields.

Upon arriving at the venue, we ran into an old friend on Anna’s and former
director of VVF in Ecuador, a man named Paul, who is currently constructing
the architecture in the area with his own artistic vision. Paul has a
passion for environmental conservation that is contagious, and spoke with
Anna about the local agroecology movement as if it was something sacred:
with a hushed voice filled with passion that carried the message that
sustainable agriculture is the key to the future. I found myself inspired
by their conversation regarding local events: That a movement towards
sustainability, both in farming and beyond, is alive in Ecuador, and it is
making strides.

The workshop, a talk about the health benefits of growing organic produce,
was presented in a green haven that is to be a future community meeting
center for local agriculture workers, a gathering place to spread awareness
about the importance of sustainability and host events, and a secure area
for organic markets where cheaper and conventionally farmed, though not
environmentally conscious, produce will not be competition. The land was
purchased through a partnership of organic farmers spearheading awareness
for their work.

Through VVF, I have been able to find and briefly connect with a community
making strides toward their vision of environmental security. Like
apostles, the evangelists of this underground society are devoted to
spreading their incredibly valuable movement one farm, workshop, and
organic market at a time. Through a day spent on an impulsive adventure, I
have seen the energy and generosity that lives in people devoted to making
a greener future, and I know this is something I will bring with me into
mine.

Grace Partridge