Taking a Stand for Small Farmers

A Global Convening in Uganda in May to Amplify Agroecology Solutions

In 2014, Grain published a seminal report: Hungry for land: Small farmers feed the world with less than a quarter of all farmland.  The report raised concerns on shrinking farmlands in the face of large, corporate agriculture and land grabs. Yet, remarkably, small farms continue to be more productive than large farms and are major food producers in the world.

The AgroEology Fund (the Fund) takes to heart the findings of the report.  The Fund was launched in 2012 to support leading small farmer organizations and advocates seeking a fair living for small producers based on sustainable land and water use. Small farmers today grow over 70% of food consumed globally and can restore degraded soil and ecosystems through agroecological practices. The Fund links organizations and movements that advance agroecological solutions locally, regionally and globally.  Over the past three years, the Fund has provided over $2.7 million in grants to alliances supporting viable food systems, the economic well-being of small farmers and their communities, and the mitigation of climate change through low-input agriculture.

This May, the Fund and the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa are hosting a learning exchange among farmers and farmer advocates in Masaka, Uganda from May 10 – 13. Participants will gather from over 20 countries to amplify the application of agroecology around the globe. The learning exchange will be held at the St. Jude Rural Training Centre, an internationally-recognized center where techniques such as organic farming, soil conservation, and biodiverse gardening are taught. St. Jude Family Projects (St.Jude) is managed by the Kizza family, who has turned their small farm into a demonstration that has inspired thousands of visitors over the years.

The learning exchange is organized to encourage alternatives to a largely corporate-controlled, globalized food system that contributes to malnutrition, inadequate farmer income, fossil fuel dependence and massive migration. The World Food Program reports that Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest prevalence of hunger. One in four people are  undernourished. Leaders from a global agroecology movement will be well-represented at the gathering for four days to share knowledge and experiences and debate strategies to build healthy and sustainable food systems.

We are thrilled to host this convening with the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), a Pan-African platform of networks and farmer organizations. AFSA influences policy in the area of community rights, family farming, promotion of traditional knowledge, environmental protection and natural resource management.