Globally connected: News from the AgriCultures Network

9 June 2015

Members of the AgriCultures Network are working together to advance family farming and agroecology, drawing lessons from farmers’ fields, sharing knowledge, and working with social movements for policy change. Here are some of our latest updates.

The Netherlands: building knowledge for healthy soils

image_miniIn March 2015, ILEIA and others in the Netherlands organised a two day meeting about soils that included a field day with visits to a composting company and several farmers, a movie screening and a conference. Over 250 people attended the event and participated in rich discussions with (young) farmers, policy makers and researchers.

Producers inspired many with their innovative approaches to build healthy soils, for example by not ploughing or by producing local feed for their cattle. Professor Marjolein Visser from the Université Libre de Bruxelles shared the irony that food production currently costs more energy than it provides us. She made a plea for better use of grass and woodlands as sources of biomass as these can enhance soil fertility. “In order to tackle the agricultural crisis,” she added, “we have to work together and continuously step out of our little boxes.” In his closing remarks, world renowned researcher and film maker John Liu showed how very degraded and barren areas can, within a few years, become covered with trees and plants and provide food security and livelihoods. Clear recommendations were formulated for practitioners, policy and research.

Senegal: IED Afrique and the Global Land Forum

Over 500 representatives of farmer organisations, indigenous peoples’ groups, local and international NGOS, research institutes, multilateral organisations and governments gathered in May 2015 in Dakar at the 7th Global Land Forum to share knowledge and experience on land governance. The event was organised by the International Land Coalition and attended by AgriCultures Network member IED Afrique.

The theme of the forum was ‘Land governance for inclusive development, justice and sustainability: time for action’. Over a full week, experts focused on the central place of land in the post-2015 agenda and discussed the challenges to inclusive governance and equitable access to land, especially for women and youth, in the current context of land grabbing. IED Afrique shared tools and mechanisms that can increase land rights security at the local level and improve accountability in agricultural investments through stronger land governance. The Forum also identified transformative practices that promote inclusive development for young people and women.

Italy: International Urban Food Policy Pact

The City of Milan in Italy is leading a process with 45 partner cities around the world to draft an International Urban Food Policy Pact that aims to build awareness on urban food systems, policies and practices and harness political engagement from cities for future actions. The RUAF Foundation forms part of the technical advisory team to support this process, together with the International Partners for Sustainable Agriculture (IPSA) and FAO Food for Cities. A draft of the Urban Food Policy Pact and a ‘Framework for Action’ has been developed covering recommended actions in areas such as governance, sustainable diets and nutrition, poverty alleviation and social inclusion, (peri-)urban agriculture and improved rural–urban linkages, food supply and distribution, and food loss and waste reduction. The final Pact will be presented in Milan in October 2015. For more contact