How a 16 year old girl became a champion to thousands of Colombian farmers

Gina is just a teenager, but she could still disrupt a supply chain.

Her full name is Gina Alejandra Jiménez Vergara, and she lives in Toca, Colombia — a farming village three hours from Bogotá the capital.

For generations her family farmed items like pineapple, potatoes, chicken. They’d sell it to intermediaries who — after taking their cut — sold it to end consumers like supermarkets.

“For a long time, I saw my mom work many hours in the country to give us study,” Gina said.

“But often it was not enough to support the family, and it was her turn to look for jobs elsewhere. We should be able to live from what we cultivate. To solve this problem, I took advantage of a training that the Ministry of Technology took to the town and learned to create a web page to develop a mechanism that would commercialize the products that they produced.”

She created — a simple website where farmers can list their products and sell them directly to end consumers. 

She launched the website in 2015 with just three participating farmers.

The results?  More than 5,000 farmers participate, and they enjoy 10-20% higher income. The site has over 3,500 registered buyers and 350 product varieties. More broadly, a new generation sees a future in working on their family’s farm. 

What’s next for Gina? Her and her brother won the $5 million dollar RECON: Peace in Movement award. They are using the money to expand their team, research new organic produce opportunities for these farmers, and train them in land management best practice.

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