Our Story

Groundswell International's 12 founding members

Groundswell’s founding conference.

Groundswell’s founders and partners have worked for decades to enable thousands of rural communities and organizations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to sustainably improve their lives. We have been at the leading edge of developing methods to spread agroecological farming practices, farmer innovation, farmer-to-farmer extension, community health, and strengthening local organizations to lead their own development processes. During this time we have also collaborated across borders to share our experiences, learn from each other, and return to our countries to apply those lessons and spread success.

Our global agricultural and food system is broken and needs to transition to one that is more sustainable and beneficial to the world’s population. This must happen in the face of the linked challenges of climate change, natural resource depletion, and worldwide economic and social upheaval.   At the same time, farmer-led social movements are growing, and there is increasing recognition that agroecology and food sovereignty are key solutions.

In August 2009, 12 people from eight countries – Burkina Faso, Canada, Ecuador, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, the Philippines, and the United States – gathered at Overlook Farm in Rutland, Massachusetts to create Groundswell International as a global partnership to contribute to this movement and these bottom-up solutions. We are a partnership of local civil society organizations, NGOs and people grounded in diverse contexts and experiences, yet we share a common approach to supporting social change, a history of collaborating over many years, and a common dream.

Less than two months after laying the foundation for this new entity, Groundswell International was legally incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in Washington, DC. Since then our founders and new members have achieved more than we could have hoped for in such a short time. We have expanded from supporting partners in Ecuador and Haiti the first year to supporting partners in ten countries – Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ecuador, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mali, Nepal, and the Philippines.