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.

“One cannot expect positive results from an educational or political action program which fails to respect the particular view of the world held by the people. Such a program constitutes cultural invasion, good intentions notwithstanding.” – Paulo Friere, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Featured Projects:

  • Kenya Innovator Documentation Project
    January 24, 2017
    Farmer-Led Innovation Documentation in Kenya
    Introduction In Kisumu, Western Kenya, farmers can serve as an example for how innovations can addre...
  • Agroforestry Workshop
    October 15, 2016
    Agroforestry, Culture, and Food Security Workshop
    On October 15, 2016, Debal Deb and D. Bhattacharya conducted a workshop on agroforestry, culture, and food security at Badsudha farm in Odisha, India. In this one...
  • September 22, 2016
    Library for Food Sovereignty International Stakeho...
    September 2016 Kasejjere, Uganda From September 19 – 22, 2016, A Growing Culture together with Kikandwa Environmental Association and Prolinnova hosted the ...
  • Participatory Video
    September 18, 2016
    Participatory Video Workshop, Kikandwa, Uganda
    From September 16-18, AGC co-hosted a Participatory Video (PV) workshop with InsightShare in Kikandw...
  • Agroecology and Seed Conservation Workshop
    September 11, 2016
    Agroecology and Seed Conservation Workshop
    The Workshop: On September 11-12, 2016, Debal Deb led a workshop addressing the topics of Agroecology and Seed Conservation on Basudha farm in Odisha, India. This...
  • nursery establishment
    July 9, 2016
    Nursery Establishment, Composting, and Compost Tea
    July 2016 Kabarnet, Kerio Valley, Kenya In July 2016, AGC returned to Kabarnet in Kenya’s Northern R...
  • beekeeping workshop
    July 1, 2016
    Beekeeping Workshop, Kikandwa, Uganda
    July 2016 Kikandwa, Uganda Kikandwa is a small community located about 45 miles west of Kampala, Uganda’s capital, and 6500 feet above sea level. Kikandwa Environ...
  • Northern Vietnam FLD
    June 20, 2016
    Smallholder Farmer Innovations in Northern Vietnam
    June 2016 Hanoi, Vietnam AGC partnered with i-Nature and Center for Creativity and Sustainability (CCS) in Northern Vietnam to document five farmer innovations.  ...
  • appropriate technologies vietnam
    October 7, 2014
    Appropriate Technologies, Northeast Vietnam
    Fall 2014 Ba Vi District, Hanoi, Vietnam Ba Vi District lies in the forested hills of northeast Vietnam. Here, Pham Nhu Trang runs a hog farm. To eliminate odors ...