Call for articles: Agricultural biodiversity – Breaking the barriers
September 30th, 2013

Deadline: December 1st, 2013 Farming Matters | 29.3 | September 2013 Agricultural biodiversity plays a huge role in maintaining resilient local economies, balanced diets and balanced ecosystems. The rapid disappearance of agricultural biodiversity and the lack of measures to protect it are therefore great causes of concern. Mainstream agricultural policies, which generally promote monoculture agriculture, … Read more

Editorial – Education for life
September 25th, 2013

Is there a future for today’s youth in tomorrow’s agriculture? Not if we will live in a world where agriculture is in the hands of a couple of large companies and a small segment of farming entrepreneurs who have made it in the rat race. And, not if policymakers continue thinking in linear growth models … Read more

Estágio Interdisciplinar de Vivência: Connecting social movements, family farmers and the university
September 25th, 2013

Family farmers play a very important role in Brazil, and not only in terms of food production. Yet, in spite of their enormous contribution, the knowledge that is developed and shared in educational institutes is rarely connected to their traditional knowledge. Most higher education institutions are highly theoretical and often oriented towards large-scale industrial agriculture, … Read more

Seeds & FFSs
September 25th, 2013

Farmers are the guardians of biodiversity. Centuries before the introduction of modern agriculture farmers were breeding and selecting thousands of crop varieties, and thereby promoting agricultural biodiversity. SEARICE, a regional organisation based in the Philippines, works with farmers in Asia to bring back the rich variety of seeds in farming. Using the Farmer Field School … Read more

Opinion: Inspiring forms of education
September 25th, 2013

The UN’s decade of education for sustainable development (2005-2014) has brought few benefits for the rural population in the Sahel. Most of the region’s education programmes are inadequate, discriminating against girls and not taking into account the differing social, cultural and economic contexts. Yet it is also possible to find many effective strategies. Fatou Batta … Read more

Training teachers in Afghanistan: We are learning by doing
September 25th, 2013

Over 75 percent of Afghanistan’s population lives in rural areas, and agriculture is the country’s main economic activity. After three decades of war and political instability, agricultural education is once again playing an important role, and many young Afghans are preparing themselves to become teachers. Special efforts are being made to train women as teachers … Read more

Can innovation fairs stimulate social learning?
September 25th, 2013

The Eastern African Farmer Innovation Fair (EAFIF), held in May 2013 in Nairobi, brought together 50 farmer innovators from Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, all of whom showcased their creativity. EAFIF was an attempt to stimulate a social learning process, encouraging those concerned with agricultural research and development (ARD) to engage in joint learning and … Read more

September 25th, 2013

Nature and culture: Rebuilding lost connections Pilgrim and J. Pretty (eds.), 2013. Routledge, Oxon. 368 pages. That biodiversity and cultural diversity form the basis of resilience, that they are both in decline, and that something must be done about it, is all well recognised. Cultural diversity and biodiversity are, however, often seen as two distinct … Read more

A new cadre of scientists-activists
September 25th, 2013

The curricula followed by most universities in Latin America are organised along narrow disciplinary lines, separating the biophysical and socio-economic components of agro-ecosystems. This conventional pedagogical approach prevents students from fully understanding the complexities of the food and natural resource systems. SOCLA, the Latin American Scientific Society of Agro-ecology, is encouraging change with the Doctoral … Read more

Locally rooted: Ideas and initiatives from the field
September 25th, 2013

Efforts to improve educational content and access in rural areas vary widely. Here we show just a few initiatives to develop a broader and more inclusive approach, focusing on the curricula, on the tools used or the target groups. Peru: Young entrepreneurs In Satipo, a town in eastern Peru, a group of young students gets … Read more