Community Participatory Action Research Network
Participatory Action Research in Agroecology & Rural Livelihoods in Tacuba, El Salvador
Academic PartnerV. Ernesto Méndez
Assistant Professor of Agroecology and Environmental Studies, UVM
Other members of the Agroecology and Rural Livelihoods Group
Community PartnerAssociation of Organic Coffee Producers of Western El Salvador (ACOES) is a cooperative made up by 29 farming families in Tacuba, El Salvador.
Advising and Interdisciplinary Research for Local Development and Conservation (ASINDEC) is a local research foundation providing support and accompaniment to the ACOES cooperative.
- Better understand the interactions between farmer livelihoods and on-farm environmental conservation, with an emphasis on agrobiodiversity.
- Examine the potential for agroecological management of shade coffee and food crops
- Support farmer livelihoods through improved coffee marketing, food security and agrotourism.
This decade-long participatory action research process, which was
supported by CFHF in 2001, has yielded considerable outcomes in terms
of livelihood and environmental benefits, as well as research findings
related to sustainable conservation and agriculture in tropical
landscapes. In terms of academic achievements, we have documented
ecosystem services in shade coffee cooperatives (agricultural
production, tree biodiversity and carbon sequestration), and analyzed
interactions between agrobiodiversity and farmer livelihoods. These
studies have been reported in publications for different audiences,
including: peer-reviewed academic publications (1 edited book by MIT
press and 8 peer-reviewed articles or chapters); 12 edited research or
extension publications; and 3 farmer-oriented publications (popular
education materials adequate for illiterate audiences). We have also
established a UVM study abroad course which provides financial support
to ASINDEC and ACOES and a valuable learning experience for UVM
Results and Impact on Community
Direct benefits to the community include: 1) The formation and
legalization of ACOES with 29 families as active members (2003-2006);
2) ACOES’ successful transition to organic coffee certification (2006);
and 3) ACOES’ relationship to a solidarity buyer in North America,
which pays prices above Fair Trade/organic and strongly supports
environmental conservation and other livelihood-oriented projects.
Last modified May 26 2010 11:01 AM