In 2013, a meeting was held with farmers and indigenous leaders from the region of Risaralda, Colombia. The meeting raised community issues around biodiversity loss, cultural disappearance, unequal distribution of land, food sovereignty and access to contemporary and ancestral technologies.
To address these issues, the artistic and research-based project Minkalab was formed on a farm near the village Santa Rosa de Cabal. It provides space for mutual exchange among local and international communities. The project combines current and ancestral knowledge about cultivation in order to bring this culture of “Buen Vivir” back to the countryside.
Since 2015, people from different backgrounds (including indigenous leaders, farmers, artisans, local citizens, artists, designers, cultural and environmental activists and theorists) have gathered together for a variety of activities.
These have included workshops on different topics and an annual Minkalab event where up to 150 local and international participants come together. The Minkalab community has built a Maloka to host meetings, a dry toilet, a laboratory kitchen and ecological gardens.
A 10-hectare reforestation plan has been created that uses native trees on a territory formerly used for stock-farming, and a year-long training program is being developed that will lead to a “Diploma de Cultivadores Culturales”.