|PORTLAND, OREGON — Grow Ahead, a crowdfunding platform that supports small-scale farmers around the world by connecting them with individuals and organizations to directly fund climate resiliency projects, is celebrating this Earth Day by launching several campaigns to support women-led farming and seed bank initiatives, and by hosting a special webinar to focus on women from around the world who are leading through regenerative agriculture.
“According to the United Nations, small-scale farmers feed 80% of the developing world’s population, and the majority of these farmers and farmworkers are women,” says Ryan Zinn, Director of Grow Ahead. “As we honor the Earth together in the face of climate change, we are able to collaborate and support the voices of those who are the keepers of this intimate knowledge in connecting to the land and growing food for communities across the globe.”
Through Grow Ahead’s website, contributors participate by funding farmer-led agroecology projects such as farmer-to-farmer trainings, scholarships, and tree plantings. For Earth Day, Grow Ahead is elevating the following campaigns, featuring a farmer-to-farmer training and two scholarship opportunities:
- Holistic Land Management Opportunities in Zimbabwe – Partner: IGugu Trust – Goal: $13,000 – With the region affected by drought, this campaign will support three rural communities (150 people) with access to training to gain skills in holistic management; support the development of leadership and community-driven grazing plans, herding teams, and ecosystem monitoring teams; support the reduction of human/wildlife conflict using mobile livestock enclosures; support the building of soil organic carbon via holistic planned grazing; and launch a seed saving bank to support local food security and revive local seed saving culture.
- Scholarship: Elizabeth Mpofu – Country: Zimbabwe – Goal: $2,500 – Elizabeth is a member of the Zimbabwe Small Holder Organic Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF), General Coordinator of La Via Campesina (LVC), a Board Member of AFSA, and a UN FAO Special Ambassador in Africa for Pulses (small grains). The funds raised will be used to sponsor Elizabeth’s travel to agroecology projects and to support Elizabeth in sharing what she learns in mini-workshops with other women farmers in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa.
- Scholarship: Vasantha Kumari – Country: India – Goal: $2,500 – Vasantha Kumari comes from a humble farmer’s family in Karnataka, southern India, and has dedicated her life to farming, education, and training for rural communities. Vasantha works as a coordinator for the seed program at the Amrita Bhoomi Center, creating models of rural autonomy. This scholarship will help Vasantha to further her skills in seed conservation over the course of one year and will also support the launch Amrita Bhoomi’s seed distribution program.
Grow Ahead is also planning to host a free webinar leading up to Earth Day titled, “Women for Agroecology and Regenerative Agriculture,” on Thursday, April 19, from 9:00 am to 10:00 am PST. With a line-up of all women, speakers include Ashlesha Khadse of Amrita Bhoomi, Sophie Ackoff of National Young Farmers Coalition, and Alex Groome, who is the Program Manager of Grow Ahead. Register online here: https://growahead.org/webinar-earth-day-women-for-agroecology-and-regenerative-agriculture/.
“Women are present to the frontlines of climate change and their work is healing the soil and creating food security alongside those who share their harvests,” says Groome. “We hope the greater community will honor Earth Day with us by supporting these campaigns and joining the webinar to meet these extraordinary women who are nurturing the next generation of farmers.”