LOCATION: United Kingdom

SUMMARY: A Growing Culture (AGC) supports farmer innovation movements around the world by facilitating knowledge exchange at a local level. Our mission is to advance a culture of famer autonomy and agroecological innovation. We manage the Library for Food Sovereignty, a community-led initiative aimed at leveraging local solutions.

PROBLEM SPACE: “Today’s dominant agricultural model has industrialized and centralized our food systemäóîa system intimately akin with not only nature, but culture.

Proprietary, top-down practices reinforce social stratification and further strain planetary thresholds capable of supporting complex life on earth. Now responsible for roughly all greenhouse gas emissions, big agriculture production exacerbates climate change, loss of biodiversity, rural livelihoods, nutrition, and community well-being while falsely claiming to feed the world. Sadly, the majority of big agriculture products go to feedlots and biofuel despite 850 million people facing food insecurity.

What’s more, top-down development models and agricultural extension conspire with multinational agricultural companies to disseminate industrial products and technologies to farmers. 200,000 people die each year from pesticide poisoning and 300,000 farmers in India have committed suicide due to insurmountable debt since the mid 1990’s. 30% of the world’s arable land is now unusable due to soil erosion.

Industrial agriculture destroys agrarian livelihoods, perpetuates systems of chronic interdependence, and spurs rural-to-urban migration. It also prolongs an injurious psyche that help comes from without, not from within.”

SOLUTION: “We are proposing a decentralized learning model to empower grassroots agrarian groups to reshape a system that works alongside them, not against or in spite of them. The Library for Food Sovereignty (LFS) is a community-led and multi-dimensional effort to bring local knowledge into the larger innovation framwork. Given the disconnect between local realities and technological progress, our effort works to blend appropriate and advanced technologies to ignite on-the-ground movements, but also harness the macro-level potentials of local knowledge. This initiative will revolutionize the way knowledge is created, built upon, and perceived.

LFS is an initiative that is drawn from our on-the-ground alliances with smallholder farming communities around the world. Inspired by the ingenuity of local farmers in the Global South, LFS uses participatory frameworks (both analog and digital) to tip the balance in favor of local, site-appropriate innovation. By inspiring knowledge from within, this effort works to disrupt the isolation of diverse phenomena and the industrial paradigm by nurturing the conditions for complex relationships to conspire in transdisciplinary symbiosis. Just as the mycorrhizal networks and hybrid vigor of open pollination regenerate the abundance of nature, so will local knowledge strengthen our information systems and ability to maintain planetary resilience.”

CONTACT: [email protected]