Update from ILEIA

12 October 2017

Dear friends,

Here is an update from ILEIA. Earlier this year we informed you about the closing down of ILEIA on July 1st 2017, which became inevitable due to an unexpected shortfall of funds. During the past seven months we have been working hard to hand over the ILEIA legacy to our colleagues in the AgriCultures Network (AN) and to many others. This process is still ongoing but our office in Wageningen is closed now. We thought you might be interested in receiving an update. Please share this message with people in your networks whom we may not have reached yet.

The AN Management team, from left to right: KVS Prasad, Paulo Petersen, Bara Gueye and Edith van Walsum.

A vibrant Network and a new Secretariat
The AgriCultures Network has seized this moment as an opportunity to create a new Secretariat in Dakar and move ILEIA’s legacy into new spaces. The new Secretariat, hosted by IED Afrique, supports the AN Management Team in streamlining the Network transition in cooperation with the former board chair and director of ILEIA. The Network is preparing a perspective plan for the coming three years and is seeking funding for it. It welcomes new members and associates to join the Network.

Magazines of the future
The AN will launch a new digital magazine platform in 2018. This platform will build on ILEIA’s global magazine Farming Matters and on the strong local roots of the regional magazines. It will help the AN to reach more diverse audiences more frequently and at a lower cost. The AN’s team of editors, working across languages, cultures and continents, is getting set for the next step in the collective journey of knowledge building and sharing. The magazine will thus become an integral part of a broader strategy that links the systematisation of concrete agroecological experience with advocacy, education and science. We are all looking forward to this new adventure.

ILEIA’s library is moving to Northern Ghana
The ILEIA library collection, consisting of more than 12000 publications on sustainable and organic agriculture, food and agroecology, is all set for its journey from Wageningen to Northern Ghana. We agreed with Professor Millar, founder of Millar’s Open University (MOU) in Bolgatanga and an alumnus of Wageningen University, that MOU would be a great new home for ILEIA’s unique collection. Professor Millar expects a warm interest among students. The arrival of the library in Bolgatanga will be a good occasion to organise a seminar on the experiences in dryland farming in Ghana and other countries in the region, and to draw lessons for practice and policy. We have requested the Netherlands Embassy in Accra to support this initiative.

And for all people living outside Bolgatanga: we are presently updating ILEIA’s digital library. In the process we found a number of rare and interesting publications which are not yet digitally available. The Wageningen University library has kindly agreed to include some 25 of these publications in their digital collection. Thank you WUR for making these publications available to a wide audience!

A new organisation Cultivate! has been started by some of ILEIA’s former staff. The aim is to build on ILEIA’s legacy, but with a stronger focus on Europe in a global context. Cultivate! sees a potential for a Europe-wide collaborative communication, learning and advocacy strategy for the amplification of agroecology and food sovereignty. The Cultivate! team plans to systematise successful initiatives in food and farming in order to draw lessons for practice and policy, connect different actors, support dynamic learning and use creative communication tools to share the resulting insights.

And finally…
Your encouraging reactions during the past half year made it clear to us that ILEIA has meant many positive things to many people. Over the years it has had a real impact on the lives of thousands of farm families, fieldworkers, scientists, students, consumers, policymakers and other citizens in different parts of the world. Thank you for sharing your diverse and interesting experiences!

We feel sad to say farewell to ILEIA as an organisation but we are glad that its legacy is alive and kicking. “Sometimes it is good to move on and start a new chapter and find new spaces”, said one of our friends. With gratitude we hand over the ILEIA legacy to our colleagues in the AgriCultures Network and to other friends and allies in different parts of the world. Our special thanks go to the many farmers and fieldworkers who shared so many insights with us over the years. We also thank Sida (Swedish International Development Agency) which supported us financially for over a decade but had to end the funding relationship with ILEIA due to the refugee crisis in 2015-2016. Lastly, we thank the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for giving ILEIA the space to identify, share and amplify practical experiences in agroecology and family farming over a period of more than twenty-five years. There are many more inspirators, allies, authors, champions, farmer philosophers, former ILEIA staff, interns, volunteers, board members and funders whom we would like to thank; they are too many to name them all.

We look forward to seeing you again, in a new constellation!

With warm regards,

for ILEIA…
Edith van Walsum (former director) em.van.walsum@gmail.com
Bram Huijsman (former chair of the Supervisory Board) bramwerk65@gmail.com

for the Agricultures Network…
the AN Management Team:
Bara Gueye baragueye@iedafrique.org
Paulo Petersen paulo@aspta.org.br
KVS Prasad leisaindia@yahoo.co.in