Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia

The CCLC is a continuing productive landscape that consists of a series of six sites. In the words of the UNESCO heritage site, it “illustrates natural, economic, and cultural features, combined in a mountainous area with collaboratively farmed coffee plantation, some of these in clearings of high forest.” The CCLC is found on the foothills of Cordillera de los Andes in the west of the country. It began with Antioquian settlers setting up small farms in the 19th century, and so the CCLC has a economy and culture rooted in coffee. The heritage site continues to describe the process and geographic features typical in coffee production. According to the source,the urban spaces surrounding the CCLC are a mix of Spanish and indigenous cultures that has adapted to coffee production. The next sections of the source talk about the criteria that the CCLC falls under that classifies it as a UNESCO heritage site. Criterion V describes the CCLC as an example of continuing land use, due mostly to campesino farmers, innovation, and the focus of strong communities. Criterion VI talks about the very strong coffee tradition and the traditional techniques and clothing of the campesino farmers. The sections “Integrity” and “Authenticity” describe how the site is an integral role to Colombia’a national identity and also how integral this site is to the protection and continuation of the culture that was created around this site. Finally, “Protection and Management” describes the effects to protect the site, which includes custom laws and plans that benefit the formal management provisions. It also goes into some detail about the committees that are supposed to manage the site and also the threats to the site, such as mining.

Questions to consider: if this site disappeared, what do you think would happen to the people and culture that surrounds the site?
How did the history of Colombia impact or affect the site?

2 thoughts on “Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia

  1. emilylwenner says:

    I think your question on what would happen if this site disappeared is a very powerful and worrisome question that must be discussed, not only in this context, but in cultural and heritage sites around the world. With a changing climate and world, the disappearances of previously valued sites is unfortunately inevitable. As we have discussed in class, heritage and “value” are both fluid entities. They both experience change, and in return must respond to that change. If this heritage site were to disappear, I believe the initial loss would be absolutely devastating on multiple levels. First off, many would lose their jobs and livelihoods, as it seems that coffee planting has been a significant part of people’s lives in this area for generations. Secondly, a loss of this site would result in a pretty traumatic economic recession for the area. Finally, the loss of something so engrained in one’s life would no doubt be extremely hard to overcome, if that were even possible. I also think that these losses would be even more hurtful to Colombia because Colombia has had a postcolonial history centered on monoculture. With the total dependence placed on a single commodity in exchange for money and the thinking/culture that goes behind that single crop, the results I believe would be tenfold.

  2. jponce2blog says:

    This question can be addressed through different perspectives. However, it is a very strong question that requires a valid discussion. In the preset world, there is a lot of issues regarding preservation of many different things. Amongst those things we find historical and archeological sites, national parks, flora, fauna, amongst others. It is worrisome that preserving such vital things that describe our past and helps us understand our evolution is becoming an emerging issue. I think the greatest risk in the CCLC is the fact that the entire world is suffering from climate change. The greatest threat with this landscape would be the fact that the coffee corps could not be able to adapt to the new climate conditions in the near future. However, from an economical standpoint, this coffee landscape is not only a description of the Colombian culture, but also one of the biggest sources of income for the country. Thus, the people that rely on this crops need to adapt a sustainable way of cultivation in order for them to secure the yield of coffee in the future. Nevertheless, there is also cultural knowledge, rituals and essential values that are embedded in this territory. The values found in this landscape is something very important to maintain, and that is also in risk. Normally, the cultural values are passed through generations by word of mouth. Therefore, taking into consideration we live in a globalized world, it is easy to loose all those learnings. Considering that people tend to travel more and its easier to go out and look for new opportunities in other regions. In conclusion, I do not thing the CCLC will disappear, but it has a potential threat to be heavily impacted by the changing climate, and the lose of culture do to globalization.

    By: Jose Antonio Ponce

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