In the Cauca region of Colombia, the Balanta family has worked for years advocating simultaneously for peace and for pineapples.
It's a region that was known for conflict and its main crop, coca leaves. Because of coca production, guerrillas occupied the area, soon followed by the military. This combination led to heavy violence in the area.
Cesar (Nilsen Lucumi), Susanna, and Gustavo (Amaifi Bonilla) Balanta grow pineapple from their farm in Cauca. Even though they have formal education, and hold other jobs in Law and Human Resources, they never left agriculture. This family has deliberately chosen to stay in Cauca, through conflict and war. They advocate for pineapple production, a welcome alternative to coca, and are passionate members of the pineapple farmers' association - Asoagronorca (Agriculture Association of Northern Cauca).
Now, this region cultivates peace. What was previously an area known for drug production and violence is now a community who comes together to produce pineapple and work together.
Minga Working Together for Pineapples
In the Cauca region of Colombia, four women travel together from one pineapple farm to another. Elfa Nelly, Nolba, Leda, and Yolima do a Minga every day.
What's a Minga?
A Minga is the idea that when many people work together, everyone benefits. In this case, it's a traditional process where a group of people agree to rotate between each others' farms to work as necessary. In this case, these women have essentially formed an unstoppable group of pineapple farmers!
Many of the 42 members of the Pineapple Association we work with participate in a Minga. Together, they cultivate pineapple and sell it to Fruandes, the Fair Trade Organization (FTO) we partner with in Colombia. In return, they receive the best price for their pineapples and the whole community benefits. Win-win!