At the occasion of YPARD 10 years, Jose Luis Zevallos Anfossi, a young agriculturist based in Argentina who recently joined YPARD, tells us what inspired and aspired him to join YPARD Community, from his very fresh perspective and as someone who lives in a country where there is no YPARD Country chapter yet. He talks about his visions and hope as a new member, particularly in Latin America.
To this day I can remember all the times when I was 3 years old and asked to go to the park near my house to roll around the grass, stare with fascination how fast the ants were walking, smell some flowers and pluck some grass to take it secretly to my house and save it on my collection boxes. I had a box reserved for that.
Flash forward to now. My name is Jose Luis Zevallos Anfossi. I am 24 years old and I have always lived in big cities. But as I mentioned in the beginning,despite living in the city, I have always found ways to have contact with nature. Growing up, I knew and learnt the need to enhance the world where we live in, though at some point I realised, like many of us, that I couldn’t make any change all by myself. I searched for tools that would allow me to connect environment, society and public policies and decided to move from Lima, Peru to Buenos Aires, Argentina to study a BA in Economics and Agricultural Management.
Currently, I'm almost graduating and actively participating on two professorships in the Agronomy Faculty of the University of Buenos Aires. In one professorship, I’m working as a teaching assistant in the field of Agrarian Sociology, and in the other one, as a member of a team that works on the accompaniment of producers in agro-ecological transition (CaLiSa). My key responsibility involves disseminating and raising awareness about food security and food sovereignty, building a social movement in social and shared economy, and organizing responsible consumers networks.
From all the experiences that I have acquired in the last years, I emphasize the value of knowledge, both academic and the human value, friendship and commitment that other people have shared with me. It was so, that no more than two months ago that I met YPARD through friends during my last trip to Peru in the beginning of this year. When I found out the existence of this network that connected young people engaged in rural development. I did not hesitate to become a member because I am convinced that united and connected, despite distances, we can contribute and join efforts to enhance our country's conditions.
Even though there is no YPARD chapter in Argentina, I have the chance to interact with members of the YPARD Peru, who shared their experiences in "Participatory Guarantee Systems", a theme that I have started to get involved with. Participatory Guarantee System is an alternative to conventional certification, where producers, private and public organizations, and consumers, participate in the certification process, building bonds of trust that guarantee the quality of the agro-ecological products.Unfortunately, this has not been extended to Argentina yet having only one experience to show for it.
With YPARD I realized I'm not alone, and that we are not just a few people working for change in rural areas and in the agricultural sector, but quite the opposite. My hope of achieving sustainable rural development for Latin America and the world has come back and its growing. The good part about this change is that it’s going to be driven by thousands of young people with commitment, conviction and vocation, whether acting in public policy, raising awareness on the civil society, working and sharing activities with small farmers, or generating alternatives for development. YPARD plays a very important role of social network for development and I believe its expansion or replication, will be crucial to encourage more young people to join the causes that motivate them and bring them to accomplish their goals and dreams. The change is in our hands. Let’s us act together to achieve it.