Nubia Cardenas and her two sons, Jeimer and Arley, live in the countryside of Chipaqué, Colombia, a municipality close to Bogotá, the country’s capital. They have recently become YouTube stars with their channel “Nubia e hijos,” or “Nubia and children.” Many farmers in Colombia grow large fields of onions, potatoes and aromatic herbs for the residents of metropolitan areas. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, food supplies are more difficult to access and food prices are steadily increasing. This makes it more difficult for low-income communities and farmers to get the resources they need to survive. In this context, Cardenas’s YouTube channel, which focuses on sustainable farming practices, is crucial for farmers in Colombia.
Peasant Farming in Colombia
Recent corruption within the Colombian government is putting an even bigger strain on peasant communities throughout Columbia. The former minister of agriculture, Andrés Felipe Arias, created the Agro Ingreso Seguro program to assist poor farmers in the economic downturn. While the program was supposed to be a low-interest line of credit from the government to impoverished farmers, it only benefited wealthy farmers, giving them subsidies greater than 26,000 pesos.
The Agro Ingreso Seguro program might have resulted in a $300 billion diversion of funds, but it enabled the top 1% of the largest farms in Columbia to dominate 81% of the country’s farms, while millions of poor farmers live on tiny plots of land. Although Arias received a 17-year prison sentence over this scandal, his actions greatly impacted impoverished Colombian communities’ access to resources and opportunities they desperately need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Columbia’s economic state and the current state of the world were two major reasons for the creation of the “Nubia e hijos” YouTube channel. The purpose of the channel is to share tips for sustainable farming practices, like how to grow fruits, vegetables and herbs. In doing so, the Cardenas family hopes to ensure that no one will have to go to bed hungry in Colombia.
5 Interesting Facts About the “Nubia e hijos” Channel
- The First Video: The family posted its first video without electricity and with little technical knowledge. Neither Cardenas nor her two sons had any knowledge about technology or social media before deciding to create a channel. The family did not even have a laptop to edit the video, but they were still dedicated to sharing their knowledge and helping others. Once the videos went viral, the trio reached out to their neighbor and friend, Sigifredo Moreno, and the social enterprise Huertos de la Sabana to collaborate on the channel’s audiovisual production.
- Planting Kits: Along with sharing their extensive cultivation knowledge, the family uses its YouTube platform to sell homemade planting kits to low-income farmers and families. For $5, subscribers can purchase kits that include soil, bags and seeds for planting. For $7, subscribers can purchase kits that include soil, seeds and three potted plants. The Cardenas family hopes that by providing viewers with both the knowledge and resources to enact sustainable farming practices, more individuals will have a constant, affordable and sustainable food supply.
- Beyond Food: The Cardenas family uses its platform to discuss other social issues in Columbia besides sustainable farming practices. In the family’s third video, Cardenas, her sister and her two sons discuss the difficulties of living in the countryside and taking virtual classes. Many impoverished families who live in the countryside of Columbia do not have access to the resources necessary to complete virtual classes, such as laptops and the internet. Therefore, the Cardenas family uses its channel to advocate for better tools and instructions for peasant children during COVID-19.
- Going Viral: “Nubia e hijos” now has 424,000 subscribers. In 11 days, Cardenas and her two sons posted four videos, which caused the YouTube channel to go viral. Their tips and instructions on how to plant food at home have become very popular and a large audience from all over the world is now viewing the Cardenas family’s videos. The family also has over 170,000 followers on Instagram due to its newfound fame.
- Improved Lifestyle: The Cardenas family was able to purchase a laptop due to support from their fans, both subscribers and buyers of their kits. In a recent video, Cardenas’s sons smiled as they show off their new laptop to the camera. The family can now use the laptop to produce more videos to help others like them through sustainable farming practices.
The coronavirus pandemic has limited interaction and communication to strictly online forms. However, the Cardenas family was dedicated to sharing their potentially life-saving knowledge with others. Through the “Nubia e hijos” YouTube channel, the Cardenas family has established an innovative way to improve their own economic situation and help fight hunger and poverty in many parts of the world through sustainable farming practices.
– Ashley Bond