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Call for articles: Family farmers breaking out of poverty
March 30th, 2014

In the International Year of Family Farming we are confronted with a shameful paradox. Family farmers produce more than half of the world’s food. That is a reason to celebrate family farming. Yet, 70% of the world’s most impoverished people live in rural areas and belong to family farming or pastoralist communities. How is this … Read moreCall for articles: Family farmers breaking out of poverty

Editorial – Time to celebrate biodiversity, before it is too late
March 30th, 2014

Biologists estimate current yearly losses of species to be 1,000 times higher than historic rates. Linguists predict that by the end of the 21st century, 50 to 90% of the world’s languages will disappear. These findings, from a recently published scientific article, point to a strong correlation between biodiversity and language extinction. This sounds like … Read moreEditorial – Time to celebrate biodiversity, before it is too late

Theme overview – Agriculture, biodiversity and communities: does it add up?
March 30th, 2014

In 1905, Einstein published the world’s most famous equation: E=mc2, which has since become a fundamental principle. A hundred years on, it’s time to propose another equation as a fundamental principle of the 21st century: A=bc2. Agriculture (A) equals biodiversity (b) multiplied by communities (c) squared – including both rural communities and the global community … Read moreTheme overview – Agriculture, biodiversity and communities: does it add up?

Evolutionary populations: Living gene banks in farmers’ fields
March 30th, 2014

Rapidly increasing on-farm biodiversity is a matter of urgency in an era of climate change. Farmers often have limited access to genetic resources. Not only do they need greater access to the genetic material in research stations and gene banks, they also need to collaborate with scientists who are willing and able to work together … Read moreEvolutionary populations: Living gene banks in farmers’ fields

Opinion: A better way to feed Africa
March 30th, 2014

We see an erosion of knowledge about our agrobiodiversity all over Africa, Million Belay says. Culture is at the centre of agrobiodiversity protection, he argues, and Africa’s agriculture policies should support this. There is a better way to feed Africa while maintaining our cultural practices in harmony with nature. I was chatting with my mother … Read moreOpinion: A better way to feed Africa

Opinion: No agrobiodiversity without peasants
March 30th, 2014

Governments and intergovernmental agreements on agrobiodiversity do not improve farmer and indigenous rights, the team of GRAIN argues. The peasants who are keeping agrobiodiversity alive are under threat from the rapid expansion of industrial farming. We need to fight for food sovereignty to preserve local agrobiodiversity. As this issue of Farming Matters illustrates so impressively, … Read moreOpinion: No agrobiodiversity without peasants

Realising the potential of peasant seeds
March 30th, 2014

In the Ecuadorian provinces of Bolívar, Chimborazo and Cotopaxi, family farmers are building new capacities to conserve and use the biodiversity on their farmland. They are gaining greater access to and control over their biological resources, increasing their resilience and food sovereignty. The key: individual farmers who are passionate about plants and seeds. Agrobiodiversity enables … Read moreRealising the potential of peasant seeds

How to break through the glass house: A personal reflection
March 30th, 2014

While there are examples of practices that successfully support biodiversity in agriculture, and even good international agreements, these practices are not spreading far and wide. There seem to be invisible walls, ceilings and floors that limit the spread of sustainable agro-biodiverse practices and their adoption into mainstream policies, practice and culture. What is stopping us … Read moreHow to break through the glass house: A personal reflection

Mind! New resources / More on agrobiodiversity
March 30th, 2014

Mountain farming is family farming / Reclaiming food security / Scaling-up agroecological approaches / Smallholders, food security and the environment Mountain farming is family farming: A contribution from mountain areas to the International Year of Family Farming 2014 S. Wymann von Dach, R. Romeo, A. Vita, M. Wurzinger and T. Kohler (eds.), 2013. FAO, CDE, … Read moreMind! New resources / More on agrobiodiversity

Locally rooted: Ideas and initiatives from the field
March 30th, 2014

All over the world we can find positive experiences where family farmers are working to maintain agricultural biodiversity, or are benefitting from it. Here are a four cases where farmers are making a conscious effort to conserve and market diverse crops. Nepal: Participatory analysis of agrobiodiversity While the government of Nepal is promoting improved and … Read moreLocally rooted: Ideas and initiatives from the field