She was born on the farm, grew up there, and today she is a prosperous tomato producer, but not just any tomato! It is an organic tomato produced in a sustainable way and adapted to the temperate climate of her region.
On a steep mountain, which Daniela used to cross to go to school, she built a 400 square meter greenhouse that houses the hopes of a flourishing future for her, her mother, Sonia, and her brother, Juan Steven.
Before seven o’clock in the morning, Daniela Campo is already walking between the rows of the 800 tomato plants. She cleans them, waters them, does an organic check for insects and diseases, talks to them, and even sings salsa music to them, for one day they will be turned into “salsa de tomate” (tomato sauce).
Four hundred of her plants have already produced fruit and she is opening markets with governmental entities, at country fairs, and by direct delivery in Popayán, where she sells, as she says with pride, “a healthful product that does no harm to anyone.”
Daniela’s farm is in the Los Cerrillos district, in the Cauca region. It is part of the global initiative of Climate-Smart Villages, one of four established in Latin America. Climate-smart villages are coordinated by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), led by CIAT.
The Cauca Climate-Smart Villages are made up of 16 districts of northwest Popayán that are implemented in coordination with the Ecohabitats Foundation, with the support of the Association of Community Action Boards (JAC in Spanish) and local partners.
There, traditional and scientific knowledge work hand in hand. It is common to see young people and adults meeting with researchers about a topic that concerns them all: how to face the impacts of climate change. It is also common to see, in the context of their local plans for adaptation, numerous initiatives to achieve it: harvesting of water from roofs, storage in reservoirs, drip irrigation according to the calendar that they themselves have designed, and community technological innovations, such as the hydraulic water pump that brings water to the surface of the ground by pedal power. This system is for dry seasons. Other systems have been implemented to deal with the seasons of intense rain, such as gardens with a roof, production in greenhouses, and the production of organic fertilizers to control pests and diseases.
In these communities, the planting and consumption of beans with increased nutrients, tolerant to drought and resistant to diseases, has become a key option for feeding themselves, just like the lettuce, carrots, Swiss chard, and onions that they cultivate in their own yards. In addition, Daniela has implemented many more initiatives on her farm.
Daniela has become an example of empowerment of the young rural woman. Her experience in implementing climate-smart agricultural practices has been replicated by other women and families that reside hundreds of kilometers away: in Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.
Daniela’s project for the future is to build another greenhouse, save enough, and leave her family “well established” before going off to study in the capital city. She dreams of returning as an environmental engineer to work in the field and thus continue honoring her family name.
CCAFS, CIAT, and the Ecohabitats Foundation are getting together on October 15 to celebrate the International Day of Rural Women established by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) in order to “recognize the role of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.”