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Venezuelan engineer discovers passion for urban agriculture in Argentina

Mauro Barberis, co-founder of Argentinian start-up Loopfarms, likes to joke about how he met Abelis Carrillo: "We met through speed dating ... but for companies and applicants!"
In just a few minutes, an instant connection sparked between the Argentinian chemical engineer and the Venezuelan agricultural engineer. It was an encounter that changed Abelis's life. She never imagined that her quest for job opportunities would lead her to cultivate microgreens in the heart of Córdoba, a city in central Argentina.

Hailing from a region known as "the breadbasket of Venezuela", Abelis, 29, grew up surrounded by vast fields of sunflowers, corn, and sugarcane. Her love of nature led her to study agricultural engineering. She hoped to live and work in the countryside, caring for the land and animals. But she had to give up her dream when, in 2017, Venezuela's deteriorating economic and social situation and lack of access to essential basic services forced her to leave the country. After traveling alone to Argentina, she met up with her partner who had fled there months earlier.

A model for sustainable food production
She faced challenges trying to establish herself in a new country, but everything changed when she met Mauro. At Loopfarms, an innovative company that promotes sustainable food cultivation, she found not just a job, but a passion. After working for five months as an intern, she now oversees the production of microgreens and edible mushrooms at one of Loopfarms' facilities.

The start-up's mission is to revolutionize urban agriculture and promote a sustainable food production model. The company uses cutting-edge technology, such as biogas and hydroponics, to cultivate microgreens indoors, making the most of available space in urban settings.

Read the entire article at UNHCR

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