The activities in the community are organized by projects. A Committee, consisting of members assigned every two years by the General Assembly, runs each project. Some of the projects in La Florida are only beginning, whereas others, such as the Agricultural production, Ecotourism and Education are already rather established. Agriculture and Ecotourism form the basis of income in the community. There exist also projects initiated by volunteers, such as a fish farm, which is at the moment run by the Ecotourism Committee. Due to the poor financial situation of La Florida, all Committees suffer from a constant lack of resources. Yet they are persistent in pursuing their goals and devoted to developing the community as a whole.
The farming in Finca La Florida is based on collective principles and environmental sustainability. The focus is on the organic coffee production, for which the community has received the Fair Trade certificate. Other products cultivated include banana, honey and macadamia. A part of the finca is reserved for reforestation. The members work on the communal land in the mornings, leaving in the afternoons for their privately owned half-acres, where they grow corn, beans and for example soy.
The Committee of Agriculture is responsible for the organizing and supervision of the collective work. As the farm was abandoned for years, the land is still unable to provide the community with sufficient income. Besides the diversification of production, one of the biggest goals of the Agriculture project is to one day build the infrastructure to finish the processing of the coffee in the community.
The Committee of Healthcare is responsible for the wellbeing of the villagers. They are trained in first aid and look after the health post in La Florida. The community has received donations of medical supplies and a doctor visits the village once a month, but the healthcare in La Florida is still mostly based on natural medicine. The Committee of Healthcare is responsible for the elaboration of natural remedies, an area in which they are eager to develop and which makes up an important part of their activities. Natural medicine and consulting are also available for visitors and volunteers in La Florida.
In La Florida there is a primary school with two teachers and a kindergarten. After 6th grade, the children must travel to neighboring communities to continue their schooling, however most end up looking for work. The Committee of Education exists to supervise the education of the children and to provide them with the adequate circumstances for learning. Their vision is to build a proper school for the kids (the current building being made out of bamboo) and to offer grades up to high school. This constitutes a major financial challenge, for which the Committee is at the present seeking resources.
The Ecotourism Project was initiated by two Danish volunteers in 2006 in order to help La Florida pay for their land. Today the project is an important source of income for the whole community. The Ecotourism Committee works hard, but as all the other Committees, is faced with constant financial challenges and a lack of resources. The vision of the project is to provide the visitors with high quality accommodation and services based on the values of ecological sustainability and environmental protection, and to one day have an own Spanish school with professional teachers.
The community bakery is a project which at the moment is on hold and without an official Committee mainly due to the lack of financial resources. The purpose of the project is to diversify the diet of the community members, with an emphasis on healthy and nutritious alternatives, such as whole grain bread. There is a small bakery in the community, run by three trained community members, but the oven is in bad condition and project is looking for resources and help to be continued.
In La Florida men and women work together and high emphasis is put on gender equality. The Committee of Women exists to ensure the voice of the women is heard in the community. It also gives the women the platform for personal development, sharing their experiences and learning about important themes of their interest, such as gender equality and domestic violence. The women also look for means of gaining their own income as a group. Some of the women have received training in Ecotourism and are responsible for guided tours and activities within the project.
The Committee of Youth in La Florida exists to provide the youth with opportunities to interact, develop and move forward in their education and working lives. The Committee has also elected representatives to speak for the youth in community meetings. Their goal is to unite the youth in La Florida, arranging different activities, sports events and trainings. The group is also in the beginning of founding an own project in order to gather financial resources for the group and gain experience in work life. For the youth the input of volunteers and visitors is highly important.
A 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck near San Marcos, Guatemala, less than 100km from La Florida. The country mourned a disaster that killed at least 52 people in nearby cities and villages, and left thousands of others without homes, or water.
Unfortunately The Finca sustained many damages as well that will have a direct impact on their core business and result in a loss of income. An initial fundraising goal of $5000 UShas been set to repair the damages and minimize the impact of this loss to the community.
A list of the damages include: