Grow Ahead recently caught up with our partners at Cooperativa Norandino, a co-operative of small producers located in Piura, Peru, to get an update on their reforestation projects. Norandino’s reforestation efforts began 10 years ago in the Choco community. Since then, Norandino has been able to reforest 488 hectares across 12 different communities with 40 hectares being reserved specifically for native plant restoration. Grow Ahead partnered with Cooperativa Norandino in 2018 to plant 45,000 trees, revitalize coffee production and create three community associations to monitor ecosystem health and support education and capacity-building around reforestation and conservation.
Community Associations for Community-led Solutions
These community associations have decided that in addition to reforestation, they are focusing on starting community and family gardens to grow a variety of vegetables, fruits, and grains and enhance food security for their communities. To support these efforts, the "Association of Agricultural Producers for Reforestation and Carbon Bonds of the Sierra de Piura" has been formed. The Association is made up of 10 reforestation committees representing 10 different communities.
Through these committees, villagers are able to conduct training sessions, exchange knowledge, and communicate more efficiently across different communities. Just this past February, Las Lomas conducted training sessions on organizational strengthening and food security. In March, the Chontaly community hosted a workshop centered around organic fertilizer production.
Similar training sessions are being planned in the other communities. By working from a localized context, communities can tailor the trainings and efforts to address their local needs.
Overall, the communities with biogardens have been able to significantly improve their food security. In addition to providing food directly, the communal and familiar gardens have provided an opportunity for villagers to better understand the importance of nutrient diversification for their own health and overall food security. The gardens have also served as a means to strengthen relationships and organizational support between communities as villagers have been able to exchange seeds, technical knowledge and support through their respective associations. The first harvest of the year is expected to happen later this month.
Supporting Long-Term Resilience
Grow Ahead works with partners that are committed to continuing the work of reforestation in their communities even after the completion of Grow Ahead supported projects. With Grow Ahead’s support, Norandino has taken on reforestation as one of the central initiatives of the cooperative, making it a long term initiative that integrates multiple of the Norandino communities’ needs. This past year Norandino was able to secure funding to reforest another 145 hectares in the Las Lomas community. Through this expansion, community residents will be able to generate income from nursery management and the installation of seedlings. These trees will also be able to remain a source of sustainable firewood for the community to use in the future. The longstanding community association networks will also continue to address the communities’ needs and strengthen their skills moving forward. Reforestation is about so much more than trees. The community associations, training sessions, and organizational strengthening that has come out of the Reforestation and Revitalizing Coffee Farms in Peru project will continue to serve the communities of Norandino as they continue ahead with reforestation efforts to multiply the benefits for people and the planet.