Note: This is an International Client-centered Master’s Project through the Nicholas School of the Environment
DESARROLLA COSTA RICA MP PROJECT
Economic Growth through Ecological Sustainability and Community Engagement
Job creation with an ecologically sustainable focus for rural development and community empowerment
The Costa Rica Project began as an alumni initiative developed with Giovanni Graziano (Duke Trinity ’94 and Duke Law ’97) and Duke’s Desarrolla club, focusing on the local community development of Chomes, Costa Rica. Chomes is located in Puntarenas, one of the poorest provinces of Costa Rica, with some of the highest unemployment levels. The Graziano family has owned a 3,500 acre farm since 1957. Thus, using his land, Mr. Graziano wishes to create a project that brings economic vitality to the Chomes community while ensuring ecological sustainability. The Graziano family has also donated land to Costa Rica`s National Health Service, where a Clinic was built and also donated a small elementary school to the national Ministry of Education. The farm also provides water for the community wells.
This MP project aims to bring together three graduate students in the Nicholas School. This team will conduct exploratory research on potential sustainable agriculture practices and economic development strategies for the community that provide innovative and creative new sources of jobs and income.
The responsibilities of the student team members will be multidisciplinary, with the ultimate vision of creating an Agro-industrial Zone that helps with the social and economic prosperity of the Chomes community. Giovanni Graziano sees the creation of an Agro-Industrial Zone (“Zona Franca Agroindustrial”) as a strong possibility for the creation of new jobs. In this “Zone”, companies will work on the entire supply chain, including food production, packaging, and delivering of final products. This “Zona Franca” could attract foreign companies who wish to benefit from the rich land and great weather conditions for growing tropical plants, vegetables and fruits, while also generating local jobs, creating a win-win situation for foreign direct investors and the community.
The client’s needs are for the student team to do research on the possibility of the creation of an agro-industrial zone and design the deliverables, phases, and methodology for its development. These deliverables will focus on determining which crops would be most suitable for the land and which companies would best align with the “Zona Franca”; how these companies would be attracted to produce and develop on this land; and what would be the social and economic effects on the community.
The team’s project will bring stable infrastructure that protects the region’s fertile land and enhances its agricultural potential while promoting economic empowerment and the sustainability of the community. We will be intertwining skills from the economic, environmental, and global health fields to revitalize the Chomes community, focusing on practices that encourage sustainability.
The team’s work will commence in the Spring of 2017, there will be exploratory research in Chomes during the summer, and the deliverables will be due in the Fall. We see this as a long-term partnership with the client, Giovanni Graziano and the Chomes community, of several years.
Duke Trinity ’94 and Duke Law ’97
• Nicholas School of the Environment Master’s Project Team
• San Agustin Farm, Chomes, Costa Rica
Summer 1: June-July, 2017
WHO CAN APPLY?
MEM and MF students
Chomes, Costa Rica