Original Works

At the edge of the forest

Olivia del Giorgio

The Gran Chaco is a dry sub-tropical woodland covering more than one million square kilometers across Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina. It is among the regions experiencing the highest global rates of deforestation for large-scale agriculture.

I began working with campesino families living in the Chaco forest in 2019. What they are experiencing is the not-so-slow rise of the soybean tide. It is coming in from all sides, squeezing communities onto ever smaller patches of forest - green islands in a sea of monoculture. They are the primary causalities, and often targets, of land speculators, agribusiness conglomerates, and political leaders. People are being fenced in and fumigated like the soybean that surrounds them, many ultimately having to move towards towns and cities.

The stories I have been logging tell of remarkable resilience to hardship – of resistance by families and communities to erasure. But there is also despair, as it seems that no one, not even the lawyers paid out of almost empty pockets, cares.

The idea for this short doc was born from the frustration and fear expressed by campesino families. When is enough enough? Why is what is happening to them still happening?

It is a testimony to their strength and, I hope, a loudspeaker for their voices