Kankawarwa, a sun that nurtures the sierra nevada

In this indigenous community of Santa Marta’s Sierra Nevada, conversation, support and learning help in strengthening people’s nutrition and care for each other.

“We want our families to stay together and to be nurtured and protected and, at the same time, we want to be caretakers of the sierra nevada, the trees, all birds and all living animals,” says Chema, the leader of the Kankawarwa community, Arhuaco people of Santa Marta’s Sierra Nevada.
The heart of such protection is nutrition, which over the past few years has been the driving factor that has enabled this community to coordinate itself to follow practices that guarantee its food sovereignty. They have cultivated a productive garden that is maintained collectively by the community, and its peppers, chives, tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuces are some of the ingredients of the school restaurant. They are also the excuse to talk to the young children about how to preserve a healthy relationship with the land, its timing and its health.
The community also farms pigs and fish, and they have learned to cultivate cocoa with the purpose of generating additional income. “You start to see the change in people: they tidy up their homes, they have the means to get a new machete for pruning the cocoa trees and to meet other needs. That makes you proud and makes you feel big because it’s like the recognition of the work you have done,” says Ángel Rincones, agricultural technician from the Kankawarwa community.
The land gives them what they ask for in a synchrony of care and respect, and they, thanking and honoring the sense of cooperation, teach other eight neighboring communities to sow, produce and preserve. They are like the Sun, with the light they have achieved over these years of work on their food laboratory, they radiate the life of the sierra nevada.
Grupo Nutresa, through Fundación Nutresa, the Chocolates and Cold Cuts Businesses, has supported this community for the past 12 years under the Germinar program and its cocoa productive linkage. Thanks to the latter, there are 204 hectares of cocoa trees established, benefiting 102 families from Santa Marta’s Sierra Nevada. For its part, the Germinar program supports 1.010 families in both rural and urban areas from five Colombian states, thus confirming Grupo Nutresa’s commitment to contributing to the goal of the SDG 2: Zero Hunger.

"We have a very important mission: we are protectors of mother nature."

Paola Pacheco, member of the Kankawarwa community,
Santa Marta’s Sierra Nevada.

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“When Grupo Nutresa first came here to support the community, we started falling in love with each other, talking about a relationship, about marriage, and now we already have four children: the garden, the pigs, the fish and the cocoa trees. Now the work is to keep taking care of them, nurturing them so that they grow strong.”

Chema, leader of the Kankawarwa community,
Santa Marta’s Sierra Nevada.