In the forested hills of Bissam Cuttack, India, lies the 2.3-acre Basudha farm. Here, farmer-scientist Debal Deb and his colleagues work to advance agroecology. They preserve India’s vanishing rice varieties, conserve and build upon Indigenous farming methods, and use ancient knowledge to experiment with new environmentally sound solutions to modern problems.
Nearly 4,000 miles to the southwest in Kisumu, Kenya, farmer-innovator Joe Ouko works locally to improve upon low-input farming methods that work within changing social, political and natural environments. One example: In 2009, a severe drought depleted traditional fodder material in his community. This, in turn, caused serious conflict. Joe experimented with drought-resistant shrubs as fodder for goat feed. His final formula fed the goats, reduced conflict and even improved the quality of the goat milk. In 2013, he joined 14 other creative Kenyan farmers to found the Farmer-Led Innovators Association of Kenya (FLIA-K), which works to create a pool of environmentally sustainable and socially appropriate innovations for all farmers to tap into, learn from, build upon, and scale out.
Around the globe, there are thousands of other examples of farmers using their ingenuity and inventiveness to promote sustainable agriculture. At A Growing Culture (AGC), we believe these farmers are the cornerstone of a healthy global food system. It’s easy to see how these efforts are exciting and beneficial for the directly impacted communities. But what do local solutions mean for you and me, thousands of miles and several oceans away?
Historically, agricultural practices are built upon and adapted over time to meet changing social and environmental conditions. New techniques are developed as farmers learn from their successes and failures. With unpredictable weather, due to climate change and rapidly shifting social norms, adaptability is more essential today than ever before; an innovative spirit among farmers is key to creating a resilient food system.
What drives innovation? The gathering of great minds, easy access to information, and the introduction to new perspectives are a few key ingredients. These factors foster inventiveness, spark new ideas and generate unique solutions. When shared, these innovations have the power to ignite an entrepreneurial and creative spirit in all farmers near and far. What better way to have far-reaching impact than by connecting farmers on a global scale? By creating a worldwide network of farmers who freely and openly share knowledge, communities everywhere—from the United States and Europe to Africa and Asia—can reap benefits from a single farmer’s ideas and innovations.
That is why—through advocacy, on-the-ground community engagement and global knowledge exchange efforts—AGC supports the world’s farmers. Our work aims to catalyze change in our food system by advancing local solutions that address both environmental and human rights. Essential to the success of our efforts is help from our like-minded partners at Navitas Organics, who recognize that superfoods start with super farmers. These global efforts have the potential to ignite a paradigm shift that transitions to a global food system that is environmentally sustainable and socially just.