Farmer Innovations

What is an agricultural innovation?

Everyone defines innovations a little differently, and that’s okay with us! AGC defines innovations as new or improved ways of doing things as they relate to farming and natural resource management; new, that is, to a specific locality.

We like to differentiate between innovation (singular) and innovations (plural) as the first being a process by which people discover and develop new ways of doing things—using locally-available resources on their own initiative—and the second, innovations, as the product of that process, for example the techniques themselves that improve farming and natural resource management in some way.

All farmers experiment and innovate to some extent. But some innovations stand out as exemplar approaches or methods to addressing the myriad of challenges farmers face. These challenges range from maximizing the potential of a landscape to adapting to a changing climate—challenges relevant to farmers not just in one locality, but all over the world.  

Over the past six years, AGC has visited over 2,000 farms in over 30 countries and we have some incredible examples of innovations. The diversity of them is impressive: from the drought-stricken fields of California to the barren pebble mines of India, family farmers find site-specific solutions every day to their hardships.

Because of industrial agriculture’s gripping monopoly over family farming, nature, and markets around the world we believe it is paramount to nurture local innovation—a key element of farmer autonomy and self-reliant agrarian communities. As industrial agriculture works to close nature, local innovation aspires to open it for the benefit of all humanity. Please join us in collectively shaping a culture of openness and innovation led by the world’s 1.5 billion farmers!

Here are their stories.

  • September 15, 2017
    Runoff Water Harvesting, Sipili, Laikipia, Kenya
      Francis Kiarahu The Story: Throughout the rainy months, Sipili, Kenya, is lush; there is green as far as the eye can see. Yet each year when the dry seas...
  • August 18, 2017
    Hybrid Beehive, Kisumu, Kenya
    Dejakes Osida Olwendo The Story: Dejakes grew up watching his older brother manage his family’s bee apiary, learning tips and tricks along the way. Yet it ...
  • Elizabeth Traditional Seed Preservation
    June 23, 2017
    Traditional Seed Preservation, Kakun, Kenya
    Elizabeth Ojuang Liech The Story: Elizabeth grew up in the grassy hills of Kakun’s farmland. Throughout her childhood, she watched and learned the many daily tas...
  • Monia Oramo Opundo Apuodho Cake
    June 9, 2017
    Apuodho Cake, Kakun, Kenya
    Monica Oramo Opundo The Story: In Kakun, Kenya, the local community has eaten apuodho (a local pumpkin variety) for its medicinal qualities for generations; Moni...
  • termite control using leaf mulch
    June 1, 2017
    Termite Control Using Leaf Mulch, Odisha, India
      Dr. Debal Deb The Story: Below the surface of farms across eastern and central India live colonies of termites. Held at bay by heavy rains during the monsoon s...
  • Thomas making his lumpy skin disease treatment
    May 26, 2017
    Traditional Lumpy Skin Disease Treatment, Kisumu, ...
    Thomas Oloo Odiyo The Story: Thomas, now 80 years old, has been farming his entire life. As a child, he learned the traditional methods his family and communit...
  • Nicholas with his walking tractor
    May 19, 2017
    Walking Tractor, Kambi Awendo, Kenya
    Nicholas Opundo The Story: As a boy, Nicholas always wanted to be a mechanical engineer. He enjoyed tinkering around with machines, experimenting to see what h...
  • Beekeeping Beehive
    May 12, 2017
    Beekeeping, Kikandwa, Uganda
    Buuma Leonard The Story: In July 2016, the Kikandwa community came together to discuss the negative impacts of climate change. Many farmers were noticing environ...
  • Unripe Pawpaw and Vegetable Meal
    May 5, 2017
    Unripe Pawpaw and Vegetable Meal, Kakun, Kenya
    Jenipher Adoyo The Story: Jenipher knew from a young age that she wanted to pursue a career in farming. Growing up in rural Kakun, Kenya, as one of seven childr...