About the AgroEcology Fund


Mission
The AgroEcology Fund seeks to increase the volume, collaboration, and long-term effectiveness of research, advocacy, and movement-building for agroecological solutions, sustainable food systems, and policies which mitigate the negative effects of climate change.

Vision
The AgroEcology Fund envisions inter-related sustainable and localized agricultural systems that 1) build on the existing skills and practices of food-producing communities, 2) incorporate local culture and knowledge (in particular the knowledge of indigenous people and women), 3) encourage local food sovereignty and economic resilience, 4) strengthen family and community health, 5) protect natural resources, and 6) mitigate the negative effects of climate change.

This vision is built on sustaining viable, diverse, and productive peasant and family farms and food systems that are integral to vibrant regional and national economies, and which link rural and urban small-scale producers and consumers in healthy and culturally enriching ways.

Goals

  • Support collaborations among organizations working on agroecological solutions and sustainable food systems across the globe
  • Support marginalized actors such as women's farmer associations and rural media networks rooted in local realities
  • Target specific solutions, such as agro-biodiverse seed houses and re-localized markets
  • Advocate against threats to agroecology, such as land-grabbing

Program Areas

  • Deepen farmer knowledge and practice
  • Broaden the agroecological movement
  • Research and document innovation, especially grassroots-driven
  • Advocate for pro-agroecology public policies and programs locally, nationally, and internationally

History
The Fund was launched in January 2012 by four founding donors, including The Christensen FundNew Field Foundation, the Swift Foundation and one anonymous foundation. In 2013, the Fund welcomed two new donor partners: The McKnight Foundation and the Tikva Grassroots Empowerment Fund. In 2014, U.K. funders Synchronicity Earth and the A Team Foundation joined the Fund. In 2015 and 2016, the following organizations joined: the Franciscan Sisters of Mary, the Full Circle Foundation, the SWF Immersion Fund, the Casey and Family Foundation, the Helianthus Fund, the Fondation Charles Léopold Mayer - FPH and the Peterffy Foundation."

In its first grant making cycle, with the guidance of an Advisory Board, the Fund awarded $1,000,000 to six collaborative initiatives (17 collaborating organizations) for a two-year grant period beginning in August 2012. In 2014, the Fund awarded $1,130,000 to eight collaborative initiatives (68 collaborating organizations). In 2016, the Fund awarded $750,000 to 10 collaborative initiatives (36 collaborating organizations).

Advisory Board
The AgroEcology Fund works closely with six expert advisors with unique perspectives on the global agroecology movement. The advisors have expertise ranging from women’s and indigenous leadership to technical knowledge on agroecological practices to communications. The advisors and participating donors jointly develop the overall strategy and discern among dozens of invited proposals to recommend final grantees.

Allies
The AgroEcology Fund collaborates with dozens of organizations and networks to amplify agricultural solutions across the globe. One strategic partner is the Agroecology Transitions Working Group of the Global Alliance for the Future of Food. Many of our contributing donors are members of funder alliances such as the EDGE Funders Alliance, Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA), the Sustainable Agricultural and Food Systems Funders Network (SAFSF), the International Human Rights Funders Group (IHRFG), International Funders of Indigenous Peoples (IFIP), and the European Foundation Centre (EFC).

Learning
The AgroEcology Fund seeks to generate debate, learning, and action for agroecological solutions among its grantees, funders, and the wider funding and development communities. We fund many agroecology schools and learning exchanges.

In March 2014, the AgroEcology Fund hosted a webinar featuring four of our global grantees discussing their progress on various agroecological practices, and sharing key learnings that can help donors have greater impact. You can view the webinar here.

We are currently planning an impact and learning convening in early 2016 for grantees, donors, advisors, and allies.

Summary Description
The AgroEcology Fund recently released a summary description on how we're strengthening the global agroecology movement. Read it here

What is Agroecology?


What is agroecology and why is it important?

  • Agroecology offers not just a set of food and fiber production techniques, but an ethos of how to steward the earth, and a foundation for a just transition towards healthy and equitable rural and urban communities.
  • Worldwide, scientists, grassroots organizations, NGOs, consumers, universities, and public agencies are working with famers to construct sustainable and nutritious food systems.
  • Agroecology is being advanced on the international stage in forums such as FAO's International Symposium on Agroecology for Food Security and Nutrition.
  • The corporate food system includes negative impacts on people’s health, environmental degradation, and the well-being of family farmers (IAASTD report 2009).

There are unprecedented opportunities to advance agroecology globally

  • Farming communities and peasant organizations are experimenting with agroecology and consumers are demanding healthier food and a closer connection to food producers.
  • The negative climate change impacts of agriculture are broadly discussed; agroecology is recognized as both a mitigation and adaptation strategy.
  • Social movements around the globe – many with significant participation of women's and indigenous organizations – are coalescing in campaigns for a healthy food system built on an environmental and human rights ethos.
  • The philanthropic community is increasingly interested in supporting agroecological solutions to the world's food, economic and environmental crises.

Impacts of the AgroEcology Movement
For Kelle Gregory, a farmer in the Upper West region of Ghana, farming had become just plain hard. “In the past decade,” he said, “I have witnessed increasing trends of degradation in my community.” Kelle and his neighbors face parched and eroding soils, government policies inviting corporate GMO seeds, and low prices for their harvests.

Skidding towards hunger and poverty, they joined the farmers' organization, CIKOD. They learned to mulch, intercrop legumes with grains, and apply agroforestry techniques. Now, Kelle and other farmers are restoring moisture to the Sahel soil and shifting away from chemically-intensive agriculture. Funded in part by a grant from the AgroEcology Fund, CIKOD also allied with a coalition of Ghanaian NGOs to block pro-GMO legislation, enabling farmers to retain control over their seeds. By joining hands with the African Food Sovereignty Alliance, organized farmers spread agroecology across the continent.

Worldwide, consumers and farmers are demonstrating the power of agroecology to feed a growing population, heal a warming planet, and lay the foundation for strong rural economies. Innovative agroecological practices are spreading globally. Some governments and institutions like the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are introducing and promoting agroecology policies. The AgroEcology Fund is fortifying a dynamic global agroecology movement.

What We Fund


Grantees and Partners

Grantee Accomplishments

Movement building in West Africa

  • Spread application of Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) – a drought resilience agroforestry technique – among peasant organizations in Ghana, Burkina Faso and Mali
  • Suspended the passage of the pro-GMO, Plant Breeder’s Bill in Ghana
  • Formed a West Africa agroecology network accepted as a member of the continent-wide Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA)

Protecting farmer-managed seed stocks

  • Held continent-wide training workshops in Nicaragua and Zimbabwe for peasant organizations on threats posed by seed laws and treaties. Gathered and presented data for advocacy
  • Protected traditional seed systems by supporting La Via Campesina peasant agroecology schools in Latin America, Asia, North American and Africa (4 new schools in Mali, Niger, Mozambique and Zimbabwe)

Global learning exchanges

  • Organized learning exchanges among sub-grantees to share agroecology and advocacy practices and lessons in Latin America, Africa and Asia

Communications for policy change

  • Published and distributed media (articles, blogs, videos) on agroecological practices, peasant seed, success stories, and agroecology as a climate change solution

Action for food system transformation

  • Formed part of strategy sessions to move Bhutan towards an organic agricultural system

Resources

Contact Us


Interested in collaborating with colleagues to scale up agroecological solutions globally? The AgroEcology Fund welcomes new members and support for our grantees. Contact Daniel Moss, daniel@agroecologyfund.org

The AgroEcology Fund is not currently accepting new proposals. Future requests for proposals will be posted on this site when they are available.