Guest lecture | Conferencia invitada @ Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Colombia


On 17 August 2018 Jaime Suzunaga and Giuseppe Feola gave a guest lecture in the course of Socioeconomic Accounting, in the School of Public Accounting at the Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Colombia in Sogamoso. The lecture included a talk and a discussion with the students | El 17 de Agosto 2018 Jaime Suzunaga y Giuseppe Feola dictaron una clase como oradores invitados en el curso de Contabilidad socioambiental en la Escuela de Contaduría Pública en la Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Colombia en Sogamoso. La clase se compuso de una charla y una discusíon con los estudiantes.

Presentation | Presentación @ ‘Sostenibilidad del Desarrollo Territorial’, UniBoyacá, Tunja

On August 13, 2018 Giuseppe Feola presented some preliminary project results at the event ‘Sostenibilidad del Desarrollo Territorial’ (Sustainability and Territorial Development) at the Universidad de Boyacá, in Tunja. A big THANK YOU to the organizers for the opportunity to share some project findings and to exchange ideas at this event. | El 13 de Agosto 2018 Giuseppe Feola presentó los avances del proyecto en el marco del evento ‘Sostenibilidad del Desarrollo Territorial’ en la Universidad de Boyacá, Tunja. Un gran GRACIAS a los organizadores por la oportunidad de compartir algunos hallazgos del proyecto e intercambiar ideas en este evento.

Agricultura periurbana y conflictos sobre el uso de la tierra: el caso de Sogamoso.

Second field work phase | Segunda fase del trabajo de campo

The second field work phase has been on the way for a week. We have already conducted six interviews with key informants, and successfully organized a workshop with representatives of local actors including NGOs and local authorities (more on the workshop outcomes coming soon!). | La segunda fase de trabajo de campo ha estado en camino durante una semana. Ya hemos llevado a cabo seis entrevistas con informantes clave, y hemos organizado con éxito un taller con representantes de actores locales, incluidas ONG y autoridades locales (¡pronto relataremos más sobre los resultados del taller!).

Nuevo articulo/new article: Contra la indiferencia: un llamado para la participación civil en el posconflicto en Colombia

Feola, G. 2018. Contra la indiferencia: un llamado para la participación  civil en el posconflicto en ColombiaRevista Ciudad Paz-ando, 11(1): 51-61. (English translation here).

Resumen.

El acuerdo de paz del 2016 fue recibido con indiferencia por gran parte de la población colombiana. Este articulo sugiere que la indiferencia tiene que ver con fracturas estructurales en la sociedad colombiana. Se presentan cuatro tesis contra la indiferencia: (i) las limitaciones del acuerdo de paz no eliminan su potencial de generar cambio; (ii) la presión de la sociedad civil puede responsabilizar a los que están en poder por la realización del acuerdo de paz; iii) la sociedad civil puede apropiarse del proceso de paz e influir en su construcción; (iv) la construcción de la paz es una oportunidad no sólo para construir paz, sino para dar forma a un país más diverso, inclusivo, democrático, digno, y ambientalmente consciente.

Abstract.

The peace accord of 2016 was received with substantial indifference by a large part of the Colombian population. This article suggests that indifference relates to fractures in Colombian Society. Four theses against indifference are put forward: (i) the limitations of the peace accord do not eliminate its potential for change; (ii) pressure from the civil society and the public can hold those in power accountable for the realisation of the peace accord; (iii) the civil society and the public can appropriate the peace process and influence peacebuilding; (iv) peacebuilding is the opportunity not only to build peace, but to newly shape a more diverse, inclusive, democratic, dignifying and environmentally-conscious Colombia.

Colaboración entre la Fundación Jischana Huitaca y la Universidad de Boyacá: gestión por la seguridad y soberanía alimentaria en el Municipio de Sogamoso

Por: Laura Herrera Pisco y Katherin Ojeda Dueñas, Universidad de Boyacá – Sede Sogamoso.

Para el año 2014 la fundación Jischana Huitaca ha venido trabajado temas de la gestión por la seguridad y soberanía alimentaria en el Municipio de Sogamoso con las veredas de Dichavita, Morca y Pedregal bajo, donde se encuentran personas que sin importar la edad hablan del campo con alegría y entusiasmo puesto que es quien les ha permitido tener comida en la mesa y en algunos casos educación para los miembros de la familia, en el año 2017 nosotras Laura Herrera Pisco y Katherin Ojeda Dueñas como estudiantes de la Universidad de Boyacá- sede Sogamoso del programa Administración de empresas, con la colaboración de la Docente Lina Otálora Gómez tutora del área de Proyección Social de la universidad desarrollamos con los campesinos diferentes talleres y capacitaciones en patrimonio cultural los  cuales  permitieron compartir ideas, valores y un sinfín de historias de cuando muchos eran jóvenes y  solían disfrutar y trabajar  más en su campo bello, historias  que surgen de sus actividades de aporcar y sacar  la papa que un Martes a la madrugada bajarían a vender, y de paso, a comprar la manteca y la harina que podrían consumir durante algún tiempo, mientras la otra cosecha se podía recoger. Historias que cuentan de los niños que se ven felices corriendo hacia la escuela de la vereda que abre las puertas para brindarles nuevos conocimientos, y desde luego de aquellos que siguen en la lucha por vender la “papita” a los sogamoseños, pero una papa de calidad “sin tanto químico y con sabor de tierra” como lo dice Don Rafael junto a Don Gustavo, Don Patricio y Doña Esperanza con más de 90 años de edad.

Hemos realizado un estudio de mercadeo que ha permitido obtener conocimiento de la aceptación de la agricultura orgánica, el precio asequible para la comunidad, la cantidad adquirida y la presentación, además de las preferencias de hierbas aromáticas, hierbas condimentarías, tubérculos y verduras en la población sogamoseña, con el fin de lograr satisfacción en los clientes y menor desperdicio en la producción de las comunidades.

A través de las diferentes actividades realizadas para este estudio observamos cómo la gente que no trabaja en el campo también desea y añora tener comida saludable en su mesa, esperando no dañar su salud y contribuir al campesino de su tierra, que no tenga que invertir en químicos y transporte para llegar a la plaza muchas veces a regalar su trabajo o a engañar al cliente con productos de sabor a químico.

Por otro lado, hemos tenido un contacto cercano con los campesinos lo cual nos ha permitido valorar y apreciar nuestra  cultura agrícola  que ha crecido tanto en esta región; ha sido un trabajo único y que ha aportado grandes valores, no solo en el aspecto intelectual sino afectivo y humano, dejando una huella intachable en el corazón y en la vida tanto de  nosotras como de cada una de las personas que han venido trabajando este proyecto para lograr sus metas y el sueño de poder comer sin químicos  o mejor dicho “comer papita con sabor a tierra”.

Presentation at Utrecht University

On 18 April 2018 Giuseppe Feola gave a research talk at the Transmobilities seminar series, at the Department of Human Geography and Planning, Utrecht University.

Governing agriculture in peri-urban spaces in Sogamoso, Colombia: a critical analysis

This talks presents the initial findings of an ongoing project on peri-urban agriculture in the context of post conflict Colombia. The project analyses discursive and practical interconnections between the emerging geographies of food sovereignty, sustainable agriculture, and peace making. It critically explores the links between specific socio-political arrangements and peri-urban agriculture, and the potential of peri-urban agriculture to support models that are alternative to capitalist, growth-oriented Development. This talk specifically focuses on (i) competing imaginaries of development, and (ii) land use conflicts in and around the study area of the city of Sogamoso. First, the talk discusses the apparent tension between imaginaries of modernization and Development, and counter-imaginaries that elaborate core food sovereignty themes of environmental sustainability, autonomy and dignity. Second, the talk discusses the inconsistency of national environmental and development policies that trickle down at urban level by creating new, or amplifying already existing land use conflicts (e.g. between mining and agriculture, or conservation and agriculture). In their turn, these conflicts exacerbate long standing barriers to governance of peri-urban spaces, including social fragmentation and lack of trust among actors. Some actors deal with conflicts by employing strategies that aim to influence –not always legally- key decision makers, while others employ ‘exit’ strategies of autonomy. This results in an uneven landscape of winners and losers, which appears to make the prospect of conflict resolution yet less likely.

Presentation at the ‘4to Taller Regional de Educación Ambiental’ in Tunja

Jaime Suzunaga presented the project and some of the emerging results in a poster at the ‘4to Taller Regional de Educación Ambiental’ held at the UniBoyacá (Tunja, Colombia) on 30 August – 1 September 2017 | Jaime Suzunaga presentó el proyecto y algunos de los primeros resultados en un poster al ‘4to Taller Regional de Educación Ambiental’ en la UniBoyacá (Tunja, Colombia) el 30 de agosto – 1 de septiembre 2017.

Land-use conflicts and governance of peri-urban spaces in Sogamoso

One of the defining characteristics of peri-urban spaces is their social, economic, cultural and environmental diversity (Lerner and Eakin, 2011). While urban and rural spaces, respectively, tend to be internally rather homogeneous, peri-urban spaces host different economic activities (e.g., agriculture, industry), and populations (e.g., long term settlers and more recent migrants often coming from rural spaces, with their respective cultural backgrounds). To govern such diverse peri-urban spaces is challenging because it is usually difficult to compose a broad and range of interests, knowledges and visions that can enter into conflict for land, resources, and political and/or social recognition.

This can be clearly seen in Sogamoso. The oriental slopes of Morcá, where agricultural production had traditionally flourished, are rich in minerals, coal and sands that are mined for use in the local metallurgic industry and the production of bricks for the growing construction sector.

Mining for coal and sand is drastically reducing the availability of fertile soil for agriculture.

Mining in this area is usually done at small to medium scale, yet its disrupting impacts on water systems, fertile soil and ecosystems in general is so dramatic that agriculture in this area has almost disappeared with the exception of home gardens.

Mining for coal and sand is drastically reducing the availability of fertile soil for agriculture.

 

A different type of land use conflict can be observed in Monquirá. This peri-urban area was traditionally a site of agricultural production and still retains part of this identity. However, the beauty of its landscape, and the reduced environmental contamination make this area attractive for the more affluent urban population seeking to move out of the urban centre, or to dispose of a holiday or weekend home. The purchase of land for residential development is made possible by recent changes in the planning regulations (which allow urban development what was formerly recognized as a suburban –mixed land-use- area), and by the concomitant rural crisis that pushes smallholders and peasants to leave agriculture to seek more remunerative and secure jobs in the city (Feola, 2017).

Residential homes (white, on the right hand side) have started to populate a traditionally agriculture oriented landscape.

While the influx of urban residents in Monquirá is not seen by everyone as a threat to agriculture, tensions exist over land acquisition for residential development, and the likely changes in the social fabric of the local community with possible social integration issues (see photo). This dynamic is similar to that observed in the peri-urban in the Chicamocha River valley south and west of Sogamoso, which is characterized by fertile soil. Differently from Monquirá, these areas are formally recognized in the latest planning regulations as ‘suburbano’, which allows mixed land-use. But, especially in the south, the residential development of upscale residential blocks and houses has effectively displaced agricultural activity.

Land-use is regulated mostly through the Municipality’s planning regulations that are formally developed in a participatory manner. However, actual participation of local communities in the decision-making process (rather than in the communications of decision taken by institutional and technical actors) seems to be patchy at best. Moreover, various actors seem to be able to exert economic and/or political pressure on the institutions to influence the development of the planning regulations, for example to extend the area susceptible of urban development at the expense of areas designated for rural uses. Key in the capacity to influence this decision-making process are financial resources, political connections, and collective organizations, none of which is characteristic of peasant and smallholders in the peri-urban spaces of Sogamoso. In addition, the local planning regulations appear to be superseded in places by, but not clearly coordinated with, national regulations, as it is the case of Mining Code. This contributes to reducing the capacity of farmers and other actors, including some social and environmental movements, to defend the space for agriculture in peri-urban areas of Sogamoso.

 

Data collection under way

The first field work phase has been under way for a couple of weeks and we have already interviewed almost 30 key informants including farmers, public servants, academics, social and environmental movement activists, academics and agri-food market operators.

Giuseppe Feola and Jaime Suzunaga interviewing a farmer

It is clear that different discourses on agri-food systems in peri-urban Sogamoso exist, and that these discourses clash sometimes in strong ways. Has agriculture a significant function in the peri-urban space of Sogamoso? And what will be its function, if any, in the future?