Despite the constant chatter from Monsanto, other chemical companies, and even the mainstream media about the need for GMOs and chemical-intensive agriculture to “feed the world,” the truth is that no such need exists.
On a global scale, the solution is clear (according to the United Nations at least): small-scale organic farming can feed the world and help solve income inequality, according to a landmark 2013 report.
And yet another report in 2017 stated that pesticide-intensive agriculture is not needed to feed the world.
It’s abundantly clear that the world needs small-scale natural farmers to thrive, and now a new project is hoping to change the game, allowing people to support small-scale family farming projects around the world directly.
New Project Allows People to Sponsor Organic Farmers Worldwide
“Supporting farmers’ transition and advancement towards resilient and regenerative organic practices will require not only the continued economic support of consumers who buy fair trade & organic products, but also direct financial cooperation,” said Ryan Zinn, the Dr. Bronner’s Organic & Fair Trade Coordinator, in a blog post on his company’s website.
Zinn had written about the Fair World Project’s new crowdfunding platform, Grow Ahead, which provides loans and funding from donors for small-scale farmers worldwide working toward a better food system. Dr. Bronner’s partners with the Fair World Project and is an active supporter of organic agriculture.
“Small farmers practicing regenerative organic agriculture can not only feed their communities and withstand climate change, but also cool the planet,” the blog post continued. “Small-scale farmer organizations in the developing world are historically under-resourced, with limited access to the credit needed to grow their organizations beyond their day-to-day needs.”
The blog said that small farmers face an difficult marketplace due to unfair marketplaces and trade agreements displacement due to land grabs by massive corporations and agribusiness.
The Grow Ahead project hopes to change all that by offering much-needed capital for small farmers to help bridge the funding gap and allow them to thrive worldwide.
The GrowAhead project features three basic ways that people can support small scale farming projects worldwide. The project is intended to:
- Provide loans for farmer-developed projects such as soil conservation, composting and agroforestry programs, all with the goal of helping small-scale farmers boost yields and expand their operations
- Raise funds for farmer-to-farmer education programs similar to Central American practices that have empowered communities and helped small-scale farms grow
- Provide funds and resources for scholarships for farm leaders and trainers to spread the most effective small-scale organic and regenerative farming techniques.
In each area, a featured crowdfunding campaign will be announced and then opened up for donations.
Currently, the projects being funded are: Cooperative Coffees for the Farmer-to-Farmer program, a green coffee importing cooperative aimed at partnering with small-scale coffee growers, and Café Orgánico Marcala for the Scholarships program, a Honduras-based initiative aimed at connecting prospective coffee growers with organic agriculture instruction and training as well as room and board.
The ‘Make a Loan’ program is also collecting for its general fund to be used for directly funding small farmer initiatives in the future (a specific project is expected to be announced soon).
How You Can Help Support Small Scale Organic Farmers
For more information, you can visit GrowAhead.org to learn more, lend, donate or sponsor, and invest in regenerative and organic agriculture.
It’s also worth noting that 100% of all donations go directly to fund programs, and the focus is expected to be on countries in the Southern Hemisphere — (if you’re looking to support U.S.-based organic food companies and small-scale farms, you can check out the crowdfunding site Barnraiser by clicking here).
You can also watch a video for more information on the GrowAhead program below:
And another on how small scale farmers can help the environment on a large scale:
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