Pontificia Universidad Catolica Argentina
While we were visiting the region on our trip to Tilcara - a region inside the province of Jujuy in Argentina- Juan Ignacio told us about their social reality, which is directly related to the sense of exclusion, lack of social and economic values in their communities. Examples of this are addictions like alcoholism and the increasing number of suicides among young people alarming epidemiologists. BIOCONEXIÓN is a platform that seeks to change that reality of exclusion, not by receiving donations or participating in charitable activities; but raising awareness and business opportunities.
In this trip we learn a very interesting concept that reflects BIOCONEXIÓN essence: it is "La Minga". Minga or Minka means “working together” in Quechua, (the language of the indigenous people of the Andes). It is an ancient tradition of collaborative work for the common good. They believe that by performing a shared work, its result will always be faster and better.
Currently, many communities work that way in Jujuy, they meet to work together because individual work would be impossible. Labours can benefit one or many people: could be building a road or having a neighbor access to water, but it is always a collective commitment.
“La Minga” highlights different values as leadership, solidarity, companionship, teamwork and common good satisfaction. Delivering physical effort in “La Minga” is expressing love for the land and in that way the same love for others. In this way, BIOCONEXIÓN wants to integrate two worlds: town and countryside expressing love for our land.
"Have you ever tried to separate 10 centimeters of the earth, trying not to return to it? Impossible. Everything is in it, is what provides us with food, everything goes and returns to it, we are bound." Juan Ignacio Gerardi, Bioconexion Founder.
In the province of Jujuy, and the northwest region of Argentina, many families of small communities used to have productive land in their hands for generations; however, as a result of the industrial agricultural impact, they abandoned productive activity, ancestral cultures, and traditional practices. Consequently, they migrated to agricultural production patterns with pesticides without adequate training and getting ridiculously low prices for their products. As a result of this, many families were left in poverty, and most of them migrated to the cities.
BIOCONEXIÓN proposes the possibility of a fairer price for their products, bringing producers and consumers in a "virtuous" circle through the "COMMITTED SEEDING" achieving local employment and decent work for most of the families.
The other proposal of BIOCONEXIÓN is the membership model that also involves a commitment to responsible sowing and conscious consumption as a great impact communication tool. During the year and every 4 months, consumers who acquire a membership receive a box with 20 custom and seasonal products, ensuring crop rotation, thereby contributing to the maintenance of biodiversity in response to industrial agriculture.
BIOCONEXIÓN provides information to local farmers trying to resume agricultural work with environmental and social commitment. It uses sustainable practices such as dehydration of their products with solar collectors, avoiding food waste. They dehydrate bananas, mangos, papayas, pears, and peaches among others. An example of this are the small bananas from the top of the plant, which have no commercial value, BIOCONEXIÓN uses and sells them through dehydration.
They also generate “added value” by using the ripe fruits and vegetables to prepare chutneys and marinades. They are also working with citric salts, fours, and distillates.
These products became gastronomic trends promoting and attracting prestigious Argentine and International chefs and restaurants. More than 18 prestigious chefs in Argentina use BIOCONEXIÓN products. Involving stakeholders and link consumers with small producers is an effective way to produce safer food and sustainable agricultural practices.
Juan Ignacio Gerardi, Creator
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Business Website: http://www.somosbioconexion.com
Year Founded: 2012
Number of Employees: 11 to 50
BIOCONEXION aims to recover the value of agricultural work, mitigating the impact of environmental crisis inherited of Industrial Agriculture. Collaborates with food paradigm change, promoting transparent trade and creates a virtuous circle that rests on quality, natural values and trust.
BIOCONEXION propose an alternative to the current paradigm of consumption and production, linking the producer to the consumer so they both benefit and grow together.