Sign the Manifesto

 

For thousands of years, farmers have provided humanity with sustenance and nutrition by developing creative and progressive techniques that work with the awesome power of nature, not against it.

Farmers’ toils have given non-agrarians the energy and time to pursue other passions; their labors have made “eat, drink, and be merry” a reality unburdened by how that food and drink came to the table.

Yet our society consistently overlooks and undervalues them in favor of a food system developed and promoted by corporations, not farmers.

Corporate forces elbow agrarians out of fields and markets that are rightfully theirs, deplete the richness of soils, and leave the richly woven traditions and interconnections of local communities in disarray.

Debt, suicides, and hunger plague the people growing our fooda reality forcing many to migrate to urban areas. Furthermore, Western legal concepts that industrial agriculture relies on—such as patents and breeders’ rights—threaten seed sovereignty, undermine the importance of local knowledge, and damage a farmer’s self identity. They infringe on farmers’ autonomy and their fundamental freedom to choose how to preserve their land and livelihoods.

 

Today we say: Enough. We can no longer participate in a system that denigrates farmers, their communities, and their bounty. Instead, we rise in solidarity with those who feed the world. We stand with farmers and everyone who contributes to our global food supply. And we will stand with them until they are recognized as the leaders they are and returned to their rightful place at the helm of agriculture.

How will we get from where we are today to a world in which farming is in the hands of farmers, not in the hands of global corporations, research laboratories, chemical manufacturers, and politicians? A world where vibrant local food systems and global learning exchanges are the norm, where agriculture is playing a leading role in combating climate change, where farmers are recognized as natural and cultural stewards, where rural economies are thriving and all of our citizens are happier and healthier?

We start by recognizing the sheer power of the farming community, which is over 1.3 billion strong. We start by understanding that, combining traditional knowledge and their ecological innovations, farmers feed 70 percent of the world while agribusiness feeds only 30 percent. We start by standing with farmers so we can create the healthy and just food system we envision.

 

Imagine a world where farmers are autonomous and have the freedom to choose their agricultural practices and define their social, economic, and relational paths.  

A world where agricultural policies and development agendas are shaped by those who grow our food, not by corporate and political forces far-removed from the fields;

A world where agricultural extension work and research agendas are holistic, inclusive, culturally-relevant, and directed by farmer needs and realities, not the corporate bottom line;

Imagine a world that views those who work in the fields as the best equipped to design solutions to our agricultural and climate challenges;

A world where resilient communities are countering climate change with adaptive practices and techniques;

A world that understands that the best way to protect and preserve local and Indigenous knowledge while also catalyzing new ecological innovations is to share it—appropriately, openly, and freely—farmer to farmer.

Imagine a world where farmers are respected and heralded as innovators, leaders, scientists, and guardians of the earth and of our collective health and prosperity.

A world where farming is recognized as a public service, with accommodations for those entering the field including debt relief, fair loans, and land access;

Imagine a world where farmer-to-farmer processes give birth to quantifiably different agricultural practices from those dominant today, with better outcomes for people and planet.

 

Farmers around the world cultivate not just our food, but also our future. In this critical moment, restoring them to the forefront of agriculture will address many of the most pressing issues of our time, from hunger to climate change, and will set right an injustice that has persisted far too long. By joining us, you will help ignite an agricultural revolution—and invite a more sustainable, just, and prosperous future. Together, we will create the world we imagine.