Leonor Espinosa

Winner 2017

“The award shine a light on those communities that for years have struggled to be recognized for their ancestral value and contribution to national cultural identity. It is a way to mitigate the silence generated by armed conflict, injustice and exclusion. In this process of reconciliation, the country IS beginning to understand the importance of placing faith in gastronomy as a significant tool for the economic development of those populations where the real wealth that generates wealth is found”

Leonor Espinosa is known for taking great pride in the cuisine of her country, as well as nurturing and promoting the value of its biodiversity. Through the Funleo foundation, Espinosa revives the ancestral knowledge and know-how of mainly indigenous and Afro-Colombian peoples. She supports rural development based on food sovereignty, and promotes routes to market for small producers as well as spaces for education, nutrition, enterprise and tourism in ethnic locations. In addition to her foundation’s work at the Integral Culinary Center in Coquí (which functions as an entrepreneurial alternative to drug trafficking), she urges Colombia to raise awareness of its culinary richness, and wants its communities to take responsibility for transforming their biological, cultural and intangible heritage into tools for socio-economic development.