UAH students had experience around agroecology, reconnection and mutual care at Fundación Origen

Students from various majors at Alberto Hurtado University, belonging to the Comprehensive Support Program (PAI) of our foundation, were part of a reflective day at Fundación Origen, Pirque. Agroecological education, sustainable production, reconnection with nature, mutual care and food sovereignty were some of the topics and experiences that nourished the activity.

For more than 30 years, the agroecological space managed by Fundación Origen has promoted practices and knowledge on how to produce the land sustainably, while generating learning related to food sovereignty, connection with nature and mutual care, also housing two schools in their premises. Students from the Alberto Hurtado University, beneficiaries of our Comprehensive Support Program (PAI), visited this space to be nourished by this way of conceiving a sustainable and responsible relationship with nature.

The visit to this foundation has become a fundamental destination as part of the development sessions carried out annually by PAI members. “This program, which begins in 2017, has different components, among them, in addition to the economic benefit, it is important to remember that it also seeks to contribute to the diversification and reflection of student experiences, offering students to participate in interdisciplinary instances that allow us to develop sensitivities linked to the arts and awareness for the care of nature”, Amparo Irarrázaval, in charge of Learning.

Two schools carry out their training process in this space, the Virginia Subercaseaux school and the Pirque Agroecological School, which house more than 600 students in total, according to Mary Anne Müller, executive director of Fundación Origen, who also guided a dialogue with UAH students. At the event, he announced the beginnings of the foundation: “from the beginning we wanted to create a small world in connection with nature that would facilitate the interaction between food production and preparation, and that the students who decided to do so could live off this”.

Concepts such as reconnection, compassion to generate action, mutual care, and the ecosocial legacy that underlies various disciplines were some of the topics that were developed in the conversation, where each member of the PAI made known their point of view on the social contribution that they seek to exercise through their study careers. At the same time, a contingent dialogue was generated around the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Coup d’état, where participants addressed the need to collectively heal memory, through active compassion and permanent work for the reconstruction of the social fabric.

During the day, two workshops were held; one of basketry and another of ceramics, together with professors Mariana Donoso and Agustín Cueto, respectively. In both instances, the students made their own art pieces and began basic craft work with these materials.

Regarding the diversity of experiences that were part of the day, Manuela Méndez, Director of Learning at Fundación Mar Adentro, stated that the activity became “an opportunity to pause and reflect on our interdependence, and on how we can contribute to cultivating a healthier, more peaceful and just world.”

Meeting points and conscious eating

Training space, peasant market, hotel and nature sanctuary (Los Maitenes Río Claro), converge in the natural facilities of Fundación Origen. Lettuce, chard, milk, jams, wines and cheeses are also produced in this space that is nourished circularly; products that are also made without artificial pesticides. And this, in each visit of the MYP students, is highly valued, since food is also a natural process that Origen seeks to value.   

Francisca Ormaz Retamal, a psychology student at the UAH, who has been at the PAI for two years, assured that “the enjoyment of food” is a fundamental part of the experience lived in this space. “It is also a moment of pause to connect and reflect, share with classmates and talk about topics that remind us of the connection with the environment,” he noted, adding that both getting out of the constant and intense effort of university study, as well as being able to stop and appreciate other rhythms of life are experiences that have been possible thanks to the PAI.

For his part, José Manuel Vera, a UAH journalism student, who has been at the PAI for three years, expressed his gratitude for the experience given the need to “disconnect from the rhythm of the city and generate a moment of tranquility that even becomes therapeutic.” . In addition, he valued the ceramics and basket weaving workshops, which allowed him to “connect with a moment of pause for creation.”

After the day spent at Fundación Origen, María José Araya, a music pedagogy student at the UAH, expressed her interest in offering an educational concert for the foundation’s schools and community members. Thus, on December 5, she will appear with her musical ensemble group called Quinteto Andante, made up of violins, viola, cello and clarinet, to perform compositions by Mozart and Vinicio Meza. This activity will also be possible thanks to the award of the UAH Environmental Linkage fund.