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You are here: Home Magazines Global edition Women forging change with agroecology

Women forging change with agroecology

last modified Mar 22, 2016 08:36 AM

This issue of Farming Matters presents stories about women from all over the world who are forging positive change through agroecology on their farms and in their communities.

Many innovations led by women are based on agroecological principles such as increasing diversity, using fewer pesticides, or building new relationships with consumers. Through small experiments women learn, get organised and strengthen their autonomy. This issue of Farming Matters, dedicated to women farmers and agricultural workers, shows a variety of experiences, each of them inspiring in their own way.

Farming Matters | 31.4 | December 2015

Featured articles

Table of contents:

  • 3 - 3
    Nelida Martinez, from Oaxaca, Mexico, came to pick berries in the USA. Now, against all odds, she is the owner and operator of her own organic farm. Through a farm business incubator, Nelida was able to rent land, and now produces organic food that she sells at farmers’ markets in the Skagit Valley area.
  • 6 - 8
    Around the world, women forge change in their communities using agroecological approaches. Yet, surprisingly little has been written about this subject. This issue of Farming Matters shows how women can transform a situation of exclusion, crisis and social vulnerability, into a positive spiral of innovation, solidarity, and personal growth.
  • 9 - 9
    In most cultures, the home gardens are women’s territory. Pablo Tittonell describes how female farmers safeguard the most important inheritance we may receive, one that is essential for agroecology, for future food and for nutritional security: cultural and biological diversity.
  • 10 - 13
    A strong network of female farmer-innovators in Paraíba, Brazil has been driving fundamental change in the lives of hundreds of women. Collective learning among farmers has brought rural women out of their isolation and into positions of leadership. The success of the women’s movement lies in its link between experimentation with agroecology and reflection on inequalities.
  • 14 - 16
    By prioritising human and non-human life over economic profit, and cooperation over competition, citizens of the city of Cordoba have been able to transform their food system into a thriving network of local food producers and consumers. Women have been at the forefront of this movement.
  • 17 - 17
    Born in a rural Bedouin community in North Sinai Governorate, Egypt, Yasmina Atta grew up in a culture that heavily restricts the roles of women. Undeterred by this oppression, she started to support young women in claiming their rights and becoming relevant economic and political actors.
  • 18 - 21
    Working with principles of agroecology, women around the world are pioneering new practices in food and farming. Farming Matters proudly presents Esther, Ann, Allu, Lilian, Elizabeth, Mariama and Esther.
  • 22 - 24
    In this interview, and four short videos, we asked four rural women leaders and activists from Asia and Africa about the role of women in agroecology. What we found were stories of race, caste, patriarchal systems, land grabbing, statelessness and, as an overriding theme, the lack of land ownership for women. These women are part of a larger coalition working to build rural women’s leadership. They believe that women organising amongst themselves to gain leadership skills and confidence is the first step to improving their livelihoods and fighting for their rights to land- so fundamental to agroecology.
  • 25 - 25
    All over the world women play a unique and vital role in fixing our broken food system. There is a strong need in Europe to strengthen women farmers in their work, through education and training, argues Hanny van Geel.
  • 26 - 29
    It is said that ‘rice is grown on women’s backs’. Globally, around a billion people cultivate rice, of which 50 to 90 percent are women. With conventional practices, they perform backbreaking tasks like seedling removal, transplanting and weeding in bent posture and under wet conditions for more than 1000 hours per hectare. In addition, they are exposed to chemicals. But the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) enables farmers to work under healthier conditions while creating various other physical and social benefits. The consequences are significant, as we learn from women in India, Malaysia and Cambodia.
  • 30 - 31
    Faced with many challenges, women find creative find solutions to improve their lives through agroecology. The experiences here highlight initiatives in which women have successfully organised themselves to strengthen their food systems, their livelihoods and their autonomy.
  • 32 - 35
    In the decades-long conflict in Colombia, agroecology has emerged as a strategy that helps women to cope with the war and to feed their families. AMOY, a women farmers organisation, not only promotes agroecological activities, but also supports women to counteract the cruelty of war by providing a space to express fear and sadness, to find refuge, and to protect themselves from armed groups.
  • 36 - 37
    Women peasants in Mozambique are rescuing an agroecological model that goes against industrial, largescale food production. They are also rising up in protest against land grabbing, a trend that threatens to displace local farmers. In doing this, these women set Mozambique on a path toward sustainable development, while strengthening their positions, defending native seeds and supporting local, healthy food.
  • 38 - 40
    In the Himalayas, male outmigration and the effects of climate change create challenges for rural women. Many of them develop innovative farming practices based on agroecology, push alternative economies and create niche markets. Women in India, Nepal and China show how agroecology can be a strategy to adapt to changing circumstances, and to drive positive social change.
  • 41 - 43
    The role of rural women and smallholder farmers in African society has been highly undervalued. This is so despite the fact that around 80% of Africa’s population is dependent on smallholder agriculture, it is the backbone of the rural economy, and women provide over two-thirds of the farm labour. There is clear evidence that agroecology is crucial for women farmers. Now we face the challenge of discovering how its principles can best be promoted and how practice can inform policy at local and national level.
  • 44 - 45
  • 46 - 46
    Members of the AgriCultures Network are working together to advance family farming and agroecology. Here is our latest update.
  • 47 - 47
    Deadline: 1 April 2016.
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