A wealth of knowledge has existed within farmers for millennia. Lessons learned as a result of intimate relationships with nature are continually built upon and passed down from one generation to the next. Tapping into and spreading this wisdom with a broader audience transforms farmers and their communities into active innovators that identify and address their own problems.
Farmers’ ability to maintain their independence has proven to be a challenge given the current global agricultural landscape. Around the world, farming communities seek partnerships and assistance to regain control of their local food system and create a better tomorrow for themselves, their children, and the planet. They invite support in designing and building a new culture of growth around their needs and desires.
Smallholders and partner organizations can best address challenges collaboratively through Participatory Innovation Development (PID)—or, more broadly expressed, farmer-led joint research. Farmers, together with support agents, investigate possible ways to improve the livelihoods of local people. Throughout these processes, farmer-led documentation (FLD) ensures successes and challenges are recorded, safeguarded, and exchanged. These community-led solutions produce far-reaching and long-term impacts, where local initiative continues beyond NGO assistance. This paves the road to food sovereignty: the ability of farmers to define and shape their own food systems.
Where A Growing Culture Fits In
Our on-the-ground support for PID and FLD strengthens the sustained capacity of local leaders to take ownership of their agricultural system. Freedom from external governance restores confidence and improves the farmers’ ability to navigate the economic, social, and environmental challenges that compromise food sovereignty. Revitalized, farmers share knowledge, facilitate workshops, and promote ecological practices, which builds farmer autonomy. When extended beyond the farmer, autonomy propels communities towards the creation of democratic local farming practices—the building blocks of an inclusive and sustainable global food system.
We do this by reframing the way the world views farmers, facilitating collective learning and catalyzing innovation through farmer-to-farmer exchange, and supporting on-the-ground efforts for farmer-led research and documentation.