Trinidad and Tobago activist gets IICA’s ‘Soul of Rurality’ Award

Gillian Goddard, the activist who chose agriculture as a means of improving lives (Photo via IICA)

(Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture Press Release) Gillian Goddard, an activist who founded an organisation that has empowered farmers in Trinidad and Tobago and elsewhere in the Caribbean, was recognised by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) as one of its “Leaders of Rurality of the Americas”.

The “Soul of Rurality” award, as it is called, is part of an initiative by the specialist agency for agricultural and rural development to pay tribute to men and women who are leaving their mark and making a difference in the rural communities of the Americas – a region that is key to food and nutritional security and to the planet’s environmental sustainability.

Goddard opened Trinidad and Tobago’s first organic food store and founded the Alliance of Rural Communities – a non-profit that seeks to enlighten farmers about the value of natural resources, ensure their role in public policy development and facilitate their access to the requisite financial tools to boost their production and income.

The Alliance began by working with cocoa, with the aim being to assist in human resource development and in restoring the natural environment, not only through agriculture, but also through chocolate manufacturing. (Photo via IICA)

The organisation encouraged cocoa farmers to produce their own artisanal chocolate and to develop community-owned businesses in Trinidad and Tobago and in neighboring countries, such as Grenada, Jamaica, Dominica, St. Lucia and Guyana.

The Alliance also forged linkages between Caribbean and African cocoa producers to create the Cross Atlantic Chocolate Collective, which allows them to share the experiences of communities that process their own agricultural raw materials and undertake their own marketing.

The Leader of Rurality award recognises individuals who are playing a critical dual role, namely as guarantors of food and nutritional security and as custodians of the planet’s biodiversity, producing under all kinds of conditions. The recognition also highlights these individuals’ capacity to serve as positive examples for the rural areas of the region.

Read more at: Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture

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