Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Sociology (Rural and Environmental Change Option)

Department or School/College

Department of Sociology

Committee Chair

Teresa Sobieszczyk

Commitee Members

Daniel Spencer, Lyn Macgregor


Central America, community development, globalization


University of Montana


In the face of persisting unequal relations between the global North and South, what strategies can rural Southern peasants use to ensure the protection of their livelihoods and resources? The Union of Agribusiness Cooperatives (UCA) in Miraflor, Nicaragua has developed and implemented organic coffee and ecotourism programs designed to sustain local peoples’ land and the health of the population as well as providing long-term economic diversification. This paper evaluates the effectiveness of these programs in providing actual long-term economic, ecological, and social benefits, as well as regular income, to members involved in the organic coffee and ecotourism programs. Through in-depth interviews, participant observation, and secondary data analysis, this research illustrates the priorities of rural peasant farmers and the obstacles they face as they attempt to participate in global markets dominated by organizations and policies based out of the global North.



© Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Alan Gutierrez