In the summer of 2022, Connor was given the opportunity through the London School of Economics to work in the remote region of Caquetá, Colombia. This agrarian terrain on the edge of the Amazon has been home to some of the most continuous conflict Latin America has seen in the last decades. The Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC), a communist militia, fought for change from 1964 until 2016. A peace accord was signed between FARC and the government, but there is still lingering distress throughout the country. Tens of thousands have been displaced, drug cartels threaten to move in on the illicit coca market the FARC once controlled, and families are going hungry.
As former members of the United States military, Connor and Darren have seen the aftermath of conflict in the eyes of fellow veterans, in the streets of the Middle East, and most recently in the stories on the ground in Latin America. Their personal experiences coupled with their study of Public Policy drives a passion for formulating structures of lasting change at the grassroots level. With their project, Gardening Community After Conflict, they plan to invest in a community garden model that can be replicated across the region. For purposes of sustainability, Connor and Darren are meeting regularly with local government officials, university experts, foundations, and regional farmers’ market coordinators so that this summer’s work can all be a part of a grander plan in Colombia, working towards peace and prosperity for all.
Connor and Darren will continue to post over the coming months as they work through this critical planning stage and finally break ground in June. Please check in for regular updates!