Industrial agriculture and food production is a major contributor to climate change, and the small-scale farmers whose regenerative practices our future relies on are bearing the brunt of the impacts. In recent years, these farmers have experienced increasing pest pressure, decreasing yields and a quickly-changing landscape — all of which are threatening their livelihoods. Considering that small-scale farmers feed the majority of the developing world, the implications are serious. Agroecological strategies for combating climate change and feeding hungry communities, such as using cover-crops and compost to boost soil organic matter and fertility, must be a global priority, scaling up and out in coming years.
Despite the serious threat that climate change poses to humanity in general, and to small-scale farmers in particular, proven solutions like small-scale regenerative agriculture receive little government or market support and safeguards. Supporting and developing small-scale regenerative farming, however, will require significant resources, research and funding.
Experience has shown that farmers around the world learn best from their peers. Emerging from Central America in the 1970s, the “Farmer-to-Farmer” movement has fueled the training of thousands of peasant farmers by facilitating the exchange of practical experiences and best practices. This movement is based upon community empowerment, traditional knowledge, and local innovation and cooperation.
In 2015, Fair World Project (FWP) collaborated with the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Fair Trade Small Producers (CLAC) in a contest soliciting small-scale farmer groups to share their experiences and best practices in confronting climate change in their communities. Experience has shown that small-scale farmers are the most cost-effective vehicle for scaling out agroecological practices. Small-scale farmer organizations have the potential to quickly and effectively implement cost-effective climate-resilient tactics, while simultaneously multiplying their experience and organizational impact.