Following meetings with village leaders at the Santa Rosa cooperative in San Martin, Peru, the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council (ESC) has agreed to support the local community in implementing protocols for sustainable ayahuasca cultivation, ceremonial safety, and cultural sensitivity.
After years of neglect of traditional ayahuasca culture in the region, this community has made a conscious decision to work to protect and enhance its relationship to ayahuasca and has asked for the ESC’s support to achieve safety and sustainability objectives. To date, the community has constructed a new ceremony building (maloca) and is working with local vegetalistas (healers) to administer ayahuasca ceremonies with the community and with visitors. This eco-tourism model is very connected with the community, as visitors stay in community members’ homes and get to experience village life on the river in an agricultural cooperative.
The community has expressed three important needs:
- Cultural sensitivity: The community has experienced negative aspects of ayahuasca seekers who come to the community but do not interact with community members. The community wishes for visitors to understand the local way of life;
- Safety: The community wishes for ayahuasca seekers to feel safe and for the community to do all it can to reduce risks to safety at the site and during ceremonies. Therefore, the ESC has agreed to work with the community in early 2015 to implement and pilot test the Ayahuasca Health Guide, with its focus on visitor safety, the responsibility of ceremony organizers, and the ethical oath of healers to do no harm. The first version of the Ayahuasca Health Guide is being developed through community consultation. You too can read and contribute at www.AyahuascaHealthGuide.com;
- Sustainability: The local community is planting ayahuasca vines and chacruna and has requested the ESC’s support in helping to implement and recognize sustainable cultivation and collection practices. With recognition for sustainable practices, the cooperative will be able to supply ayahuasca and chacruna to centers in Peru and elsewhere.
This work will depend on the global ayahuasca community’s support for the ESC’s work, which you can support on our Indiegogo fundraising campaign.
About the Santa Rosa community: Santa Rosa is part of the ACOPAGRO cooperative, one of the most successful cooperatives in South America. The community has bounced back from a terrible phase of cocaine narcotrafficking in the 1990s. After successful plant substitution work supported by USAID and others, the community supplies cacao to some of the world’s most famous chocolate companies. In order to supplement income and ensure stability and sustainability, the community is working with the Peruvian NGO Fundacion Amazonia Viva (the Living Amazon Foundation) to develop sustainable aquaculture (fish farming), apiculture (bee keeping), carbon “in-setting” (planting trees to offset carbon), sustainable tourism, and other revenue diversification models. The community is on the perimeter of the San Martin Bioreserve, a REDD+ and UNESCO World Heritage site in the heart of the upper Peruvian Amazon (Parque Nacional del Rio Abiseo). Therefore, the communities are developing economic growth models that depend on clean air and water, and sustainable management of natural resources and which can be replicated around the region and beyond.
Please contact the ESC for more information or to get involved!