Marvin Jiménez is a Costa Rican bean farmer. You can see in his eyes how much he loves his work. Marvin knows the joy of harvesting a healthy crop that is culturally important to Mesoamerican cuisine and a source of income and employment for many Costa Ricans. However, he and the more than 100 farmers in the La Palmera Farmer Association, for which he is president, face challenges in harvesting their beans and other crops. They deal with climate change, lack of access to fair markets, the country’s socio-political situation, and malnutrition in all its forms.
EARTH Futures, our University’s global solutions center, has joined the National Plan for Sustainable and Healthy Costa Rican Gastronomy and the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement to find solutions to these challenges and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Costa Rica. The SUN Movement began in 2010 as a new way of working collaboratively to end global malnutrition. The Movement unites representatives from SUN Country governments, civil society, the United Nations, donors, businesses, and researchers in a collective effort to promote food security. In Costa Rica, the Costa Rican Gastronomic Foundation (FUCOGA) coordinates the core committee for convening civil society. EARTH Futures, the University of Costa Rica, Fundecooperación, and groups such as La Palmera and Clúster Caribe are part of this committee.
FUCOGA launched an interactive digital platform to drive the linking, dissemination, and coordination of initiatives and the community, including civil society, academia, the national government, local governments, and private companies. The platform is open to the general public to learn about healthy and sustainable dietary issues.
Marvin was one of the stars on launch day. He told a bit of his story and talked about the importance of bean farming, the constant challenges, and the opportunities that fill him with hope and motivation. With the philanthropic support of the Walmart Foundation, EARTH has been working with La Palmera Farmer Association for more than two years to improve their farming practices, implement precision agriculture, and open access to new markets.
“We are honored to be part of this project, receive EARTH University’s support, and participate in this event. It means we can be recognized nationally as farmers. We are encouraging Costa Ricans to eat what we produce – healthy crops that are the best in the country. This help strengthens us,” says Marvin.
Sustainable and efficient results come from collective work. The synergy of the different actors in this initiative is fundamental to opening new opportunities for persevering farmers like Marvin, which the SUN Movement is all about.
We invite you to visit the virtual platform to learn more about the National Plan for Sustainable and Healthy Costa Rican Gastronomy and the SUN Movement: https://www.fucoga.org/.