Envol Vert and the Guaimaro: Conservation and food sovereignty in a single tree

The mission of Envol Vert

The Envol Vert foundation’s mission is the conservation and reforestation of the Colombian dry forest and develops projects with different communities. Forest nurseries are the central axis of these projects: it is here that the work between community and forest conservation is articulated.

Through educational work, combined with the experience of nursery and plantation work, community members recognize the value of the forest. Its uses and benefits brings a lot of livelihood to the users. It is in this context that the foundation encourages the change of perspective on the exploitation of resources through the implementation of agroforestry and silvopastoral systems.

 

The Guaimaro, the tree of life

There is a special tree reflecting the benefits of forest conservation: the Guaimaro. It is the star of our projects because it presents multiple services in favour of the environment and contributes to the food sovereignty of the communities that take care of it. Guaimaro seeds, also called Maya nuts, are abundant during the two harvest seasons. They feed both animals and humans. They are one of the most representative foods of local cultures in Centrale America.

Considerable efforts are being made in Colombia to safeguard the ancestral expertise around the preparation of Guaimaro and reintroduce its consumption in the communities’ diet. Indeed seeds present a great nutritional value and can be prepared in a variety of ways. The foundation participates in this process through the research of seed properties, recipe register, creation of data sheets and the identification of nutritional qualities.

The adoption of Guaimaro is encouraged by the creation of educational, gastronomic, culinary and commercial exchange spaces within the framework of various events such as exchanges with others projects, workshops, fairs, festivals, gastronomic meetings as well as the daily life of the kitchen. This is how we reinforce its use and its conservation in the culture of the communities.

Guaimaro has a great potential in contributing to the local economy as a marketable product. With the aim of supporting community initiatives and creating economic alternatives, we carry out practical workshops on transformation, cost calculation, process standardization and market analysis. In this way we develop the production capacities of the community members and we help with the marketing of their products.

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