In Holyoke, Massachusetts, US, the urban agriculture organization Nuestras Raíces has grown to include a central farm, a network of 12 community gardens, and a youth program currently working to improve the food served in schools. Founded by Puerto Rican immigrants, Nuestras Raíces brings food and culture together in a tangible way by hosting cultural events at its urban farm ‘La Finca,’ which also hosts training for beginning farmers and spaces for small local businesses. Visit their website for more information.
Zimbabwe Organic Smallholder Farmers Forum & Shashe Agroecology School both work to support smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe as they exchange ideas about agroecology, reconnect with traditional farming practices, and lobby to protect their livelihoods from seed patent laws, the World Trade Organization and transnational corporations. Read the full story in this Medium article.
The Palestinian West Bank is one of the regions where agriculture was first practiced, with many ancient seed varieties native to the area. But lately, Palestinian farming culture has fallen under threat. The Palestine Heirloom Seed Library works to preserve the area’s rare and precious seed varieties, and other aspects of the farming culture, before it is too late. Read the full story in this Medium article.
One year after Timor Leste’s independence, Timorese student activists and permaculture facilitators teamed up to rehabilitate the country’s war-torn landscapes and to encourage food sovereignty through permaculture principles and traditional agricultural practices. Today, Permatil promotes regenerative agriculture through several avenues, including a national farmers’ network; the inclusion of place-based agricultural education and school gardens into the national school curriculum; guidebooks and media; and theater performances on environmental and social justice issues – all in Tetum, the local language. Read the story of Permatil’s genesis here and learn more about the national permaculture curriculum here.Photo credit: AusTimorFN (CC-BY 2.0)
Pine Island Community Farm supports New American farmers — most of whom came to the U.S. as refugees — as they raise goats, chickens and garden crops in their new country. Many New Americans were farmers in their home countries, and Pine Island helps to send the message that they are welcome to live the lives they want in the United States. Read more about Pine Island in this Medium article.
Planting Justice, an organization in East Oakland, California, provides urban farming jobs and economic security for former inmates, and supports local gardening projects to increase food sovereignty in a community with little access to healthy food options. With thirty employees, about half of whom are transitioning back into society after incarceration, the organization operates an organic nursery business with more than 1,100 varieties of fruit trees, and an edible landscaping business installing gardens, chicken coops, beehives, rain barrels and graywater reuse systems throughout the Bay Area. The income from these businesses goes towards the creation of gardens in low-income areas and the development of school gardening and nutrition programs. Planting Justice is in the process of transferring ownership of its nursery land to the local Ohlone community, through the indigenous women-owned Sogorea Te’ Land Trust. The Planting Justice website and this New York Times article detail the organization’s diverse programs and impacts, past and present.
Comprising 15 workers’ unions, more than 150 community associations, and a regional association of organic farmers, the Polo da Borborema (link in Portuguese) in semi-arid Paraíba, Brazil, upholds land-based livelihoods for more than 5,000 families through supporting agroecological farming methods, animal husbandry, local water management, marketing, political organizing, and more. Read more about Polo da Borborema’s work in our Medium article on water sovereignty. Photo by user Prscilla (Wikimedia Commons).
In just a few summers, a community in Berlin transformed a decades-old concrete wasteland into a thriving garden and sustainable urban living education center, with more than one acre of gardens, trees, gathering spaces, and a farm-to-table restaurant in the city center. All of the agriculture at Prinzessinnengarten is mobile, to maintain organic production on contaminated and paved land. Using this same mobile infrastructure, founding organization Nomadisch Grün transforms other unused spaces in the city into temporary pop-up gardens, to aid neighborhoods in reimagining other unused urban land as gardens. See Prinzessinnengarten’s English-language website for detailed information on its history.
In 2001, when technical services failed to create a shift toward sustainable farming practices in rural Shanxi, China, former schoolteacher Zheng Bing gathered women together for public dances. Within a few years, more than 1,000 women from 43 villages participated; this social cohesion formed the basis for a group of farming cooperatives with 2,700 families on 2,000 hectares. The group focuses on improving quality of life and ecological consciousness in rural areas, with programs such as sustainable agriculture trainings, bulk purchasing of organic food, and social services for the elderly. Read this interview with Zheng Bing and a case study in this report from iPES-Food to learn more. Photo by Chlukoe (Wikimedia Commons)
Pun Pun is an organic farm and intentional community, as well as a center for seed- saving and sustainable living and learning, just north of Chiang Mai, Thailand. Members of the Pun Pun community also run two restaurants in Chiang Mai City, where they serve local, organic, GMO-free food, created to highlight the value of the diverse traditional seed varieties grown and saved at Pun Pun. Read more about Pun Pun’s work in this Medium article.