Quito, P, Ecuador
Fellow Since 1998
This profile was prepared when José Carvajal was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1998.
The New Idea
José Carvajal is systematizing and disseminating the effective agro-ecological practices which Andean farmers know and employ. He challenges those systems imposed by the state and various nongovernmental organizations which rely on technology transfer and assistance, without recognizing the values and knowledge of those who live and work in the countryside. Instead, José links these same institutions with farmer groups under a new orientation of reflection and participatory training, guided by the belief that successful techniques which come from the farmers themselves will be more sustainable in the long run. Another unique component to Jose's model is the development of lobbying techniques which give these groups effective voice in and influence over agricultural policy. He has found that it is much easier to convince political and social institutions to adopt methods of sustainable agriculture when this change is based on the methods the farmer groups have discovered and are using themselves.