Leading regenerative life models

We are a non-profit organization that promotes the conservation and regeneration of Ecuador’s ecosystems and cultures through research, development and education in practical alternatives of applied ecology, which allow us to build sustainable life models, in accordance with Sumak Kawsay and the Rights of Nature.

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History

Grupo Allpa was born in 1998 applying Permaculture in the context of indigenous and farmer communities in Ecuador, joining activities of conservation and rural endogenous development. The foundation enrolled in the Ministry of Environment and began working through several farms called “EcoCentros” managed by families committed to a profound change in their relations with the land. At the same time, it acquired land for conservation purposes.

In 2012 the Group experienced a restructuring, including change of personnel and a deepening and expansion of its objectives. In recent years, its work has focused on technical and educational support for indigenous and farmer processes in 15 provinces of Ecuador, social impact on food, production and consumption issues, support for solidarity trade processes and international alliances to advance the agenda for a just society in a positive relationship with Nature.

About Us

The members of the Group are farmers, educators and explorers of regenerative models of life. We have led social processes in agroecology since the 1990s, always seeking to promote endogenous development models, which are designed and implemented by local innovators from their own daily lives. We live in houses that we have built with our own hands, we manage gardens that provide food for our families and products for the market, we take care directly of the education of our children and we work in the rescue of our cultural identity. It is thanks to this daily and first-hand experience with the farmer’s reality that we have been able to identify and promote successful processes of eco-social regeneration in all regions of Ecuador.

Rogelio Simbaña

Self-formed permacultor of farmer roots, Rogelio is part of the Kitu-Kara indigenous Nation. For 18 years he has been training farmers in Permaculture and seed production. He has led his community on several occasions as President and in other positions within the community council.

Fernanda Meneses

Fernanda is a Permaculture practitioner, graduated in Ecology and Chemistry. She coordinates national distribution of seeds in the Seed Guardians Network. She is a producer of handmade natural cosmetics and runs an organic seed production garden.

Martha Guamán

Martha is an agroecological farmer from the Kitu-Kara Nation. She manages the Allpa Tarpuna EcoCenter.

Javier Carrera

Javier is the founder and social coordinator of the Seed Guardians Network. Expert in regenerative food systems, author and speaker. Permacultor since 1998. He currently chairs the Allpa Group and travels around the country weaving projects of pioneer families that practice ecological and social regeneration.

Daniela Borja

Daniela is an artist, communicator and cyclist. She is responsible for the communication  of the Group.

Jefferson Mecham

Jeff is the founder of Grupo Allpa. As a Permacultor he has worked in the United States, Nepal, Bolivia and Ecuador. He currently works at the Cornell University.

Valentina Benavides

Valentina is a filmmaker and artist, as well as Permacultor practitioner.

Principles

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Seed Sovereignty

Each bioregion must be self-sufficient in seeds adapted to local conditions, since they are the first and most important resource for life.

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Cultural identity

Each culture is the result of thousands of years of adaptation to local conditions, and has the best strategies to deal with the problems of existence in a real context. This ancestral knowledge needs to be updated and used. To achieve this, the rights to food, cultural identity and land management must be implemented in an intercultural context.

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Ecological Regeneration

The land is so degraded that it cannot be sustainable. We need to regenerate it. Biodiversity, niches, cycles, fertility and water stored in the soil, energy stored in biomass are the central aspects of the construction of this natural capital.

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Collaborative commerce

An economy oriented to the welfare of society can only be sustained with collaborative market models, where it is not sought to maximize profits at a single point but to distribute them fairly among the different actors in the system. This also implies a development on a human scale, and a construction of community interactions.

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Social responsibility

There can be no sustainability without social justice. The world is moving towards a more participatory and responsible form of democracy, with equal opportunities and justice for all. We must implement reciprocal and fair relationships at all levels.

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Education and collective knowledge

Knowledge is not the exclusive patrimony of any institution. In this age of information,  ancestral knowledge is being lost, and it is precisely these knowledge that the communities of the future will need to ensure their survival and well-being. Knowledge must be shared in conditions of respect and equity, and must be accessible to the entire population.

What We Do

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Training of Farmer Seedsavers

We form farmer groups in agroecological seed production. The objective is that they can independently handle the production and marketing of their own quality seeds, while working through the Participatory Seed Production Guarantee System in coordination with the Seed Guardians Network. This increases seed sovereignty and resilience to climate change for the country. Currently in coordination with Swissaid Ecuador, 6 groups are being trained in the provinces of Cotopaxi, Tungurahua, Chimborazo and Bolivar, and introductory workshops have been held in Pichincha and Galapagos.

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Agroecology Training

Since 1998 the partners of Grupo Allpa have promoted learning processes in Agroecology. At the moment we have about 200 farmer students in basic agroecology in the provinces of Sucumbíos, Orellana and Imbabura. In Pichincha an annual course of Organic Gardening has been maintained since 1998. We plan to offer advanced training processes starting in 2020.

Our educational programs also aim to change the habits and attitudes of the general public regarding production and consumption. We conduct dozens of workshops and conferences every year.

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Seed and Ancestral Food Campaign

We promote the consumption of ancestral seeds through alliances with high-profile chefs who develop a new gastronomy based on these products. The project has been running for two years and has been very successful, bringing farmers and chefs together and providing knowledge to the public through workshops, farm visits and publications. This is creating a growing market that pushes farmers to multiply and save ancestral seeds. So far we have worked with more than 50 chefs in Quito and Galapagos.

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Capacity building for members of the Seed Guardians Network

We provide training, communication and dissemination support to the processes carried out by the families of farmers that make up the Seed Guardians Network. There are about 110 active families in 15 provinces of Ecuador.

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Solidarity Trade Circuits

We support the agroecological trade circuit managed by the Organic Wayruro Association, in training, management and dissemination activities. This process is based on the solidarity alliance between agroecological producers, professional cooks and customers of the El Wayruro store, located in the north of Quito.

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Biodiversity Sanctuaries

We maintain a conservation process in the cloud forest of Cambugan in the Province of Pichincha. We plan to acquire land for regeneration nearby and thus sustain two types of refuge, the only one dedicated to conserving the forest as a wild sanctuary open to research and public visits, the other as a space for research and education in ecological regeneration.

Partners of the Red de Guardianes de Semillas

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Casilla 17-26-129 Quito, Ecuador

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