Felipe Roa-Clavijo has been a practitioner in local and regional development working as an advisor and consultant for local communities, governments and international cooperation agencies such as Save the Children and the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy. He has been an advisor and workshop facilitator in projects such as the participatory budgeting in Nariño, local community strategic planning process in Andean municipalities of southern Colombia, and the design of the food security public policy of Nariño.

Felipe was the local partner’s organization responsible of the national project “Democracy, Citizenship and Political Leadership” which was implemented in a joint effort with the United Nations Development Program. As part of this project he coordinated the implementation of political debates and leadership development workshops.

During the time he lived in Seattle, he collaborated in the Latino Program at Washington Cash, a Seattle based Non-profit organization that provides hands-on education, in-depth support, and access to capital needed to launch and grow successful small enterprises to low-income, women, and minority populations. He also worked as a research assistant in watershed conservation policies in Latin America at the Institute of Public Service of Seattle University.

Felipe holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from Seattle University, United States and an undergraduate degree in Environmental Sciences from Javeriana University, Bogota. He has undertaken international courses in rural sustainable development at the Agrarian University of Havana in Cuba and a Media Policy course at University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

After many years of neglect, rural development is back on the development agenda. It is not only the key component of the peace negotiations between the Colombian government and guerrilla group FARC, it is also a core element in a potential post-conflict era. Following the 2013-14 national agrarian strikes, both national and regional governments have initiated negotiations with peasant, indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities that seek to address the government’s historical debt with the countryside. These negotiations have, for the very first time in many years, opened up a space for debating and negotiating different and often contrasting rural economy models and visions.

My research focuses on the negotiation of interests and agendas in the Colombian agri-food sector. Specifically, I analyse the extent to which these negotiations between multiple actors (peasants, governments, and private firms), located at different scales (local, regional, national), affect the productive aspects of the agri-food system – what is being produced, how it is produced and by whom – as well as the natural resource base on which these systems depend. To do so, I am conducting a cross-scale comparative analysis in three contrasting rural economies in Colombia: Nariño, Caquetá and Meta.