How It All Started
In 2009, Adam Stieglitz and Aaron Ebner met in graduate school at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) in Monterey, California. They were critical of conventional development practices and began researching more responsible forms of development. At MIIS, they founded a student group on campus committed to understanding failed agriculture projects in Peru. The student group piloted a new model of school greenhouses that they thought might work in campesino communities. They partnered with Ruben Quispe from Choquecancha, Peru to carry out this pilot project. It was a huge success because the school greenhouses enabled students to have nutritional lunches and more pride for their agricultural heritage. After seeing the success of these school greenhouses, community members started to express interest in their own family greenhouses.
In 2010, Stieglitz, Ebner and Quispe founded the Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development (AASD) to support community-led agriculture projects in the highlands of Peru.