CIPA Capstone Project – Agricultural Producers and Exporters Association in Chile

CIPA Capstone Project – Agricultural Producers and Exporters Association in Chile-image

Capstone projects are an indispensable component of the CIPA curriculum, providing students with important hands-on research and leadership experience.  We are proud to introduce you to a few of the projects that our students are working on this semester.

Client: Asociación de Productores y Exportadores Agrícolas del Valle de Copiapó (APECO)
Project:  Considerations for Implementing a School Garden Program in Chile, and Evaluation Tool Creation to Determine Effectiveness.
Student Team:  Katelyn Palumbo and Julie Parsons

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Asociación de Productores y Exportadores Agrícolas del Valle de Copiapó (APECO), which translates to Agricultural Producers and Exporters Association of Copiapó Valley, is a trade association of growers and exporters of agricultural products. Their purpose is to represent the interests of farmers in northern Chile. The 32 companies that belong to the association produce table grapes, olives, pomegranates and vegetables. It is important to note that APECO represents 90% of the total fruit production of the Copiapó Valley, and 95% of the table grape sector. 

In collaboration with CIPA, APECO has been investigating ways to give back to their community. Teams of CIPA Fellows have partnered with APECO to identify school gardens as a powerful opportunity to use APECO’s resources, knowledge, connections, and expert personnel for corporate social responsibility programming. The school gardens initiative is almost ready to launch and this semester two more CIPA fellows, Julie Parsons and Katelyn Palumbo, are working on it for their final Capstone projects.

Gardens will be created in twelve schools and support will be provided in creating curriculum to use the gardens as a tool in several subjects. APECO’s intention is to help integrate relevant, technical and professional knowledge into vocation program curricula, and plan a role in building relationships between the schools and local agricultural experts and facilities. Some of the objectives of the school gardens program include a deeper understanding of the environment and the importance of agriculture in students and the community; opportunities to learn about climate change, water scarcity, and environmental impacts; diversified diets and increased nutrition education; opportunities for physical activity; technical hands-on experience; and entrepreneurial and business skills from processing and selling food.

This semester, the capstone team is excited to support the launch of the school gardens program by examining current literature regarding existing school gardens and past research from CIPA projects. Based on our research, we expect to propose plans to be used in the design and implementation of the program, including selection of schools to launch in first phase and schools for following phases (“waitlist”). In addition, we will create evaluation tools and protocol, (both short- and long-term) to be focused on program improvement, informing future scaling-up of the project, demonstrating success to secure future buy-in from stakeholders, and measuring the impact on the community

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