This Friday, October 16th, is World Food Day. This is a day when people around the world join the movement against hunger and create one voice in affirmation of their commitment to the eradication of hunger in our lifetime. In celebration of this occasion I’d like to take this time to reflect on an experience I had this past summer as intern for Social Entrepreneur Corps in Ecuador.

SE Corps interns help sort the fruits and vegetables at one of Fundación Utopía’s distribution days. Photo by Christina Powell from the University of Maryland.

After spending our first two weeks in country going over orientation and various training materials to prepare us for our work in the campo, Team Impacto was already on its way to our first field site. We traveled about five hours north from our base in the city of Cuenca to Riobamba, the capital of the Chimborazo Province. We were staying about half an hour outside of the city of Riobamba with families in an indigenous community called Pulingui. I didn’t know it then, but these next two weeks would come to set the tone for the rest of our time in country as part of Social Entrepreneur Corps’ 8-week summer program.

Part of the work that Social Entrepreneur Corps does with local entrepreneurs involves grassroots consulting projects and allows us to provide local individuals, entrepreneurs, organizations, and small businesses with consulting services, educational talks, resources, and information to help them achieve their missions more effectively. On the ground, these consulting projects are known as APFs or Asesor Por Favor.

Soon after arriving to the Chimborazo Province, we traveled from our homestay families to the city of Riobamba to conduct a needs-analysis with Fundación Utopía. This process is used to gather the information necessary to learn more about how an organization would like to expand in developing its future endeavors.

A view of the distribution day with Fundación Utopía. Photo by Chrstina Powell, from the University of Maryland.

Fundación Utopía is specifically known for running its community food-basket, or Canasta Comunitaria, in an effort to provide local families with access to healthy produce at a reasonable price. The objective of a community food basket is to build a popular economy based on solidarity around fresh produce. However, it’s not just the fresh fruits and vegetables that keep families coming back to Fundación Utopía’s Canasta Comunitaria month after month. The feeling of camaraderie and fellowship that this organization provides for its patrons is completely unmatched. As a result of our collaboration, we were able to develop marketing materials, reform its volunteer concept, and take inventory of their asset-based community resources in preparation for the possibility of increasing infrastructure in the future.

The theme of this year’s World Food Day is Social Protection & Agriculture: Breaking the Cycle of Global Poverty. Fundación Utopía embodies this concept of promoting adequate nutrition for disadvantaged families and communities through its commitment to food sovereignty and economic solidarity. In building a brotherly alliance between the campo from which the food is sourced and the city of communities where the families live, Fundación Utopía is making a joint political action in defense of food sovereignty for today as well as for generations to come.