Sofia Hinojosa Valdivieso is a graphic designer, born and raised in Cochabamba, Bolivia. She moved to the United States with her family when she was 14. She is a founding member and the social management chair of Stiletto Queens UIUC, where she works to empower women to feel confident and comfortable in their own bodies. Her goal is to use design as a tool to empower communities by creating impactful, effective and aesthetically pleasing designs that capture stories and achieve goals.
For her Capstone project, she is designing for “Sabor Bolivia,” a social enterprise that focuses on the possibilities of increasing sustainability by proposing the use of an alternative crop that could substitute coca plantations in El Chapare. This alternative crop would be locoto. The brand mission is to safeguard the environment and the local communities from illegal coca production in El Chapare. Her project aims to showcase her Bolivian and Andean roots while also raising awareness to the environmental and ethical issues that are currently happening in El Chapare today.
One main goal is for the farmers in El Chapare to be able to find a substitution crop for coca leaves, a crop that will still allow them to sustain their families. Furthermore, El Chapare is home to multiple species of animals, plants, and communities that are currently at risk due to the environmental harm caused by illegal coca production. The profit made from selling locoto in the United States market would go back to reforestation, cleaning and safeguarding the water resources in el Chapare as well as ethically paying the farmers and helping them attain the needed resources to sustainably produce locoto. Locoto is known as the iconic flavor of Bolivia. This pepper is not found in the United States, which is why exporting it to the United States could prove to be a profitable venture. Though this is a hypothetical business proposition, the idea and issues are based on real-life scenarios.