Manuela is a passionate agronomist with a masters degree in Sustainable Business Development, graduated from EARTH University in 2013 and CATIE in 2017.
She currently works for EARTH University in the extension project unit called EARTH Futures where she is responsible for supporting smallholder farmers to better access markets and works on the empowerment of women, youth, and farmers in agriculture.
In the last 7 years, she has worked in different areas such as organic food production, ornamental plant exports, and the Fairtrade Certification System as a certification analyst at the Latin American Office for FLOCERT. She also worked at PROCOMER, Costa Rica's trade promotion agency where her role was to impact value chains nationwide through the promotion of commercial linkages in the agricultural sector.
Since her studies, Manuela has always been interested in sustainable agricultural systems and is the reason for her to travel and get to know new communities. She had the opportunity to work at Kyusei Nature Farming Center, in Thailand where she was involved in different agricultural activities based on organic production. Manuela conducted her master's thesis research on value chains and inclusive businesses at Fazenda da Toca in Brazil where they practice big-scale agroforestry, organic egg production and sustainable education.
One of her goals is to promote food security and sovereignty in the world. Some of the ways she promotes organic food production and consumption are through a personal project called Pinar del Río Organic Farm. This farm is a 2-year family project where biodiversity, organic production, gastronomy and education are the main objectives. The farm produces a diverse amount of crops such as edible flowers, colorful carrots and beets, and about 35 different types of greens. The project aims to create an example of community, creativity and protection towards nature. In relation to this, Manuela is part of a new movement in her community that integrates organic farmers, consumers and the general community of San Isidro de Heredia. The group is, at this moment, conformed of 40 community members who see agriculture as the driving force towards sustainable development.
Manuela has always been interested in community integration; she thinks that consolidating networks is the best way to address activities and messages through the people. I´m very happy to be part of the YPARD community, it is an honor to be the Country Representative for Costa Rica. I think there are always new opportunities to help and co-create in collaboration with different people. I´m sure during this time we will create an interactive space always looking forward to promoting the importance of agriculture and especially a form of agriculture that integrates the youth as they are the future of the sustainable food system. I hope that every day more and more people can see agriculture as a space for professional and personal growth, where the participants involved can lead the food systems to a place where food security and sovereignty can thrive.
Welcome on board Manuela Gil!