Private Project

Tarpuna: Guardians of the Coconut and the Mangrove

This episode of the series Tarpuna, by the Seed Savers of Ecuador, features stories of struggle and survival of the guardians of the mangrove and coconut forests in the tropical coastal region of Esmeraldas, in Ecuador. The guardians are people of African descent telling stories of the mangroves as their ancestral home and food source until the shrimping farms devastated nearly 90% of the forest. Local farmers call out the damage monoculture farming has done to coconut palms, and show the solution in ancestral farming techniques to diversify crops. Viewers understand the interconnectedness of the coconut and the mangrove forests through people's memory and identity, biology and traditional recipes such as black shell coconut stews.

  • Gustavo Chiriboga
    Tarpuna: Corn
  • Gustavo Chiriboga
  • Pilar Egüez Guevara
    Raspando coco
  • Paolo Realpe
    Key Cast
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Tarpuna: Guardianes del Coco y el Manglar
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    18 minutes 40 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 6, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    8,000 USD
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Distribution Information
  • Comidas que curan
    Country: United States
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Gustavo Chiriboga

Independent filmmaker and storyteller. Bachelor of performing arts from Montpellier 3 in France and ten years of practical experience. His line of work is diverse, which is why he has collaborated on projects ranging from commercials to feature films. He is madly in love with our planet, Mother Earth, Ecuador and its cultures. That is why he specializes above all in audiovisual narration with ecological content. He currently directs the video coordination of the Seed Guardians Network, an organization that brings together more than 100 families with permaculture projects throughout the country. Gustavo is also passionate about self-development and ancestral knowledge. Examples of his work are currently shown on international streaming platforms such as the Gaia Network and

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Director Statement

The film's objective is to disseminate knowledge about the coconut and the mangrove through cooking recipes, testimonies, and lullabies that the protagonists inherited from their ancestors of African descent. This knowledge has allowed them to preserve and collect food in a sustainable way for generations. The food, as well as the mangrove where they live, have a high symbolic value for the Afro population in Esmeraldas, and they are directly linked to their sense of identity. Historically, the importance of the mangrove swamp for the region as a natural barrier guaranteed their protection against natural disasters and food security. The documentary seeks to safeguard these endangered assets from massive deforestation by the shrimp industry and conventional agricultural practices with agrochemicals.