New generations that embrace rurality20 March, 2023
The countryside is filled with hope and the youth is rediscovering it. Working, carrying out projects of special crops and plantations, networking and taking care of the planet is all part of this new momentum. She gets up every day with the sunrise, feeds the chickens, plants trees and fertilizes the soil. Maria José Ríos is a 22-year-old coffee grower who studies agronomy and has a special sensitivity towards the protection of the land. After living in Medellín for six years, she decided to return to the countryside; that place that saw her grow, where the chirping of the birds, the sound of the water spring and the music of the rain falling on the coffee trees give her what she values the most: peace. Before making the decision of returning to the rural world, she had to question herself deeply, because everyone used to tell that her future was in the city. But in March 2020, just before the total lockdown enforced during the pandemic, she took the last bust to Támesis (municipality in the Southwestern region of Antioquia) and started writing a new story. She arrived to the La Margarita estate, which is where her family lives: her mother, father, older sister and their pets.
There, they have a large productive garden that fed not only her family but also some of their neighbors, a coffee plantation on the hillside, which coexists with other tree and animal species, and a water spring that she takes care of herself. This place also saw her entrepreneurship project come to life: coffee beans that she her – self planted, picked, washed, dried, selected and packed in bags designed in honor of her grand – mother Margarita. “What makes me proud the most of this project is that we did it all as a family.” Today, she is taking her first steps to fulfill her big – gest dream: working with the communities. She start – ed by joining the Network of Young Regenerators, a project where Grupo Nutresa and other institutions, such as Folu Colombia, Bancolombia, Comfama and the ‘Visión Suroeste’ Network, contribute their talent and knowledge to strengthen the ideas that benefit the sustainability of the rural territories and their em – bracement by youth like Maria José. Grupo Nutresa establishes these type of connections with the pur – pose of supporting the comprehensive development of leadership efforts like Maria José’s. “To me, a boost from a company like Grupo Nutresa means a lot, because we gain so much knowledge and we also weave experiences that make our rural territories stronger.”