A Catalyst to Expand the Global Agro-Ecology Movement
Award: $300,000 over 24 months (2012-2014)
The Fund awarded Grassroots International and its three partner organizations $300,000 to grow the international agroecology movement in order to counter the rapidly growing industrial agriculture movement favored by international corporations and their allies. These organizations will partner to enhance agroecological farming practices by encouraging farmer-to-farmer learning and to link international food, water, and climate policy activities with grassroots groups and networks that have agroecology experience so that they may influence international policy. To implement these goals, they will coordinate a series of four learning exchanges in the Global South and support organizations working on agroecological policy and practice. The learning exchanges will bring together farmers and advocates to compile and disseminate farmer knowledge and develop avenues to showcase innovations developed on the ground. The grant will also support grassroots agroecology leaders’ participation in important regional and international processes. By simultaneously honing farmers’ practices and supporting their participation in regional and international activities, this project will facilitate greater coordination among on-the-ground grassroots networks and international policy efforts.
Build agroecological capacity through grants, knowledge production, learning exchanges, and advocacy to on-the-ground organizations/groups to develop successful agroecological practices, skills, knowledge and building effective advocacy strategies
Challenges that the Collaborative faced(s)
- Matching opportunities to influence policy with the priorities of grassroots organizations;
- Inserting discussions on agroecology into relevant official processes so that it becomes a recognized solution;
- One major challenge is the increasing threat from corporate-controlled agriculture – including land and water grabs, climate impacts, promulgation of corporate-owned seeds, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides.
- Expanded agroecology practice and awareness in Brazil, Mexico, India, South Africa and Nepal;
- Organized learning exchanges which brought together dozens of key grantee-partners and other farmer groups from Latin America, Southeast Asia, Southern Africa and Brazil. They were held in Brazil, India, Mexico, South Africa;
- Expanded agroecology support and awareness in the US by OrganizING visits by agroecology groups from around the world to the US linking them to American policy groups, funder networks and food sovereignty groups;
- Developed research, educational and advocacy resources to promote agroecology that were disseminated worldwide.
When Carlos explained the elements of creating fertilizer during a learning exchange in Chiapas, Mexico, farmers from around the world were taking notes and sharing their own recipes. He spoke of his initial skepticism. Carlos had to be convinced that the agro-toxins that he and other farmers in his community in Santa Gertrudis had used were not only harmful but also not as productive as natural fertilizers.
For him “fertilizers were a faster way to get results.” Slowly, and after careful experimentation with natural fertilizers, Carlos saw results. And also he began to also use organic pesticides, experimenting with chile and garlic to create effective sprays. Once his bean fields strengthened and he reaped a big harvest with these methods, other farmers started to pay attention, too. “I learned experimenting and now I have confidence in the effectiveness of organic fertilizers,” Carlos said. “That’s how I started to abandon the chemicals. [Now] I see the results in my harvest.”
Carlos credits learning exchanges like the one Grassroots International and IDEX supported and helped organize with helping expand knowledge among small farmers and provide practical – and powerful – connections for creating a more just and sustainable world, one productive field at a time.
- Carol Schachet, in Agroecology Learning Exchange Lets Farmers Share Recipes for Success, and Fertilizer
Agroecology Learning Exchanges - For reports, latest learnings and observations from 3 Agroecology learning Exchanges (Mexico, South Africa and India), including case studies and pictures.
Mexico Regional Agroecology Learning Exchange - For the full report and live tweeting of the Mexico Regional Agroecology Learning Exchange.
Global-Local context of Farmworkers’ strike - Blog in September 2013 showing the Global-Local context of Farmworkers’ strike called “Farmworkers’ Strikes: From Washington State to South Africa.”