An old African proverb: “When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground.”
Information exchange is an essential pillar for A Growing Culture. It is through information exchange and an open knowledge system that we are able to promote AGC’s work and complete our mission. The traditional top-down model of research distribution does not meet the needs of small-scale farming businesses. As Eric Holt-Giménez and Miguel Altieri cite in Agroecology, Food Sovereignty, and the New Green Revolution, Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (2013), agroecology is knowledge intensive rather than capital intensive: tending towards small, highly diversified farms, with an emphasis on local communities to generate and scale-up innovations through farmer-to-farmer research. AGC’s work is in harnessing and empowering farmer-led research, making it permanently available for agrarians all over the world to learn from. AGC believes that information exchange is imperative to putting the needs of those who grow, distribute, and consume food at the center of food systems. Furthermore, knowledge sharing helps propel grounds movements, solidify communities, and stimulate creative solutions.
What is Open Access?
The digital age of the internet has fundamentally changed the way research is distributed and accessed. It is now more important than ever for information to be free, unrestricted, and open for further use. For too long for-profit players have capitalized on storing knowledge behind paywalls—oftentimes research that was funded by public dollars. These barriers have slowed research, delayed innovative solutions, tempered creativity, and favored those at the top. Open access calls for free, unrestricted, online access to knowledge with the permission to read, copy, download, distribute, and use for any other lawful purpose without legal, financial, or technical barriers. Open access amplifies the voices and visions of small and medium-sized communities. It reverses the traditional knowledge cycle of top-down research and instruction. And it empowers farmers to become knowledge managers.
Declaration on Open Access to Agricultural Knowledge
Drawing on the Declaration of the Budapest Open Access Initiative (2001) and the Berlin Declaration, along with the spirit of all open movements, A Growing Culture actively commits to open access in all research and publication activities. We are thrilled to join a coalition of organizations, educators, researchers, and individuals who are dedicated to removing the paywall barriers to research and encouraging its reuse, dissemination, and role in furthering collective knowledge. An open and free knowledge system is key to AGC’s mission: to create a global coalition connecting farmers with the resources they need to contribute to an ecologically sound system and prosperous planet.