Rogelio and his daughter Michel Simbaña of the Kitu-Kara Nation share with us their experiences of 20 years, starting with a mini organic garden and growing up to two interconnected farms in different ecosystems, their work with their local community preserving the Sacred Mountain Ilaló, and the organic shop they opened in February, just in time for the Covid-related food crisis.
Rogelio was born and raised as a poor indigenous farmer. When he was 7, his mother gave him a couple goats and told him: “now you have to look for yourself. If you want to study, you will have to pay your own school.” The following years, developing his goat herd in Mount Ilaló, were crucial in his development: he forged a strong connection with the mountain and the native forests there. He was then drafted into the army, fought in a war, got a job in agrochemical agriculture after that, became really sick. He then decided to return to his roots, and accepted an underpaid job managing a tree nursery for his community. This gave him the opportunity to work with native trees.
In 2003 he connected with the Seed Guardians Network and was hired as a technical assistant and a farmer’s educator. Since then, his life has turned into a permaculture adventure, becoming one of the most recognized leaders of the regenerative movement in the country and helping hundreds of farmers to develop their pathway out of poverty and into Sumak Kawsay, the Good Living philosophy of their ancestors.
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