A Global Partnership to Amplify Peasant and Family Farm Agro- Ecology as Part of Food Sovereignty


Lead Organization: La Via Campesina

Partner Organizations: GRAIN and ETC Group

Location(s): Global

Award: $300,000 over 24 months (2012-2014)

The Fund awarded La Via Campesina (LVC) and its two partner organizations $300,000 to address the linked problems of rising food prices and climate change that result from industrial farming. The partnership seeks to build the capacity of grassroots organizations and to mobilize campaigns to create a policy environment that recognizes agroecology as a viable alternative to industrial farming. To build the capacity of on-the-ground organizations, LVC will provide advocacy trainings and mobilization support. In an effort to amplify the movement’s voice on the global policy front, LVC and its partners will generate reports on agroecological practices, offer communications trainings to members of LVC’s network of 150 farmer organizations, and prepare LVC delegates who are speaking at international forums by educating them on agroecological successes and policy positions. By strengthening its supporters’ advocacy capabilities, this project will raise awareness of agroecology and influence international policy in its favor.


  1. Strengthen grassroots peasant agroecology and seed diversity activities worldwide by linking existing initiatives, by networking between peasant agroecology schools, and by facilitating horizontal farmer-to-farmer learning processes;
  2. Substantially increase peasant farmers' voices and participation in international debates and policy fora, to achieve policy environments that favor peasant agroecology;
  3. Campaigning/advocacy/mobilization directed at both public opinion and policy makers, concerning the advantages, for addressing the food, social, climate and other crises, of peasant- and family farm-based agroecology as part of the construction of food sovereignty.
  4. Challenge the industrial food chain by documenting its inefficiencies, lack of diversity, and lack of innovative incapacity to address the climate crisis and food insecurity, and by showing how the corporate controlled food system undermines agroecology and biodiversity.
  5. Strengthening the capacity of LVC regions to amplify on-the-ground agroecology practice through agroecology schools and other training processes, while taking advantage of the training environment to also building advocacy, campaigning and mobilization capacity.

Challenges that the Collaborative faced(s)

  • Agroecology is at a crossroads, facing its possible cooptation by the mainstream.  In this new moment, in which agroecology is being given prominence by both institutions above and movements below, we see universities rush to offer agroecology curricula and government ministries to create agroecology departments and programs and policies.  But which view of agroecology will be represented? Will the food system be transformed, with more healthy food for all, or will business as usual continue with a light veneer of "greenwashing"?  We are at a critical moment for agroecology, and need to redouble our collective efforts.
  • Our efforts are seriously constrained by a lack of resources. LVC, for example, represents some 200 organizations in 80 countries. ETC and GRAIN work in many countries. When you get down to it, divided that many ways, the total support available in the funding community still falls way short.
  • We need to focus more on understanding the processes and key elements behind successful cases of bringing agroecology to scale. So far it is clear that grassroots social movements are the essential starting point.  Organization and collective are the culture on which agroecology grows and spreads. But what specific steps can and should movements take to accelerate and strengthen these processes?


  • Agroecology Fund support helped us initiate an agroecology schools network that is strengthening peasant agroecology training in America, Asia, Africa and Europe.
  • Farmers voices have been heard at key forums around the world. In the FAO agroecology process the peasant voice has dominated the agenda and the discourse and we continue to be able to negotiate favorable documents with FAO and some governments.
  • We have put out crucial reports and materials, and circulated them widely, achieving notable press coverage and a multiplier effect with numerous links on web sites around the world.  
  • We have held many important seed exchanges and provided training to the participants.  
  • The partnership has had an important impact promoting agroecology and food sovereignty as a strategy to deal with the climate crisis.

We have identified major successes in bringing agroecology to scale in the cases of the Campesino-a-Campesino (farmer to farmer) agroecology movement in Cuba, and the Zero Budget Natural Farming movement in India.  Through numerous farmer-to-farmer exchanges and training courses offered in India and Cuba, we have sparked new Zero Budget processes in at least Nepal, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, and new Campesino a Campesino  processes in Mozambique, South Korea, El Salvador, Brazil, Colombia, the United States, Canada and elsewhere. Peasants say that “seeing is believing;” being able to visit peers who already practice agroecological farming successfully, who live well and achieve personal satisfaction from it, is what finally convinces other peasants and family farmers to take the leap themselves. Visiting peer organizations with successful agroecology processes, has a similar effect for leaders of other peasant organizations.  Through this collaborative, we have been able to take “farmer to farmer” processes to the levels of “farmer organization to farmer organization,” “country to country,” and “continent to continent.”


Round 1Firas Nasr