As another year comes to an end, we’re taking the opportunity to reflect on the progress we’ve made this year. 2022 was a big year for Groundswell International, our partner organizations, and our program communities, as we saw continued successes and instances of resiliency throughout the communities we serve. The year also saw our message of how agroecology is central to building healthy farming and food systems from the ground up spread further than ever before.
Take a moment to reflect with us on some of our favorite projects, publications, and events in 2022.
This year we shared a project that was several years in the making: the Youth Storytellers program. Piloted in 2021, we joined our network partners Association Nourrir Sans Détruire (ANSD) and Vecinos Honduras, to identify interested young people in Honduras and Burkina Faso and provided these young changemakers with basic communications training and equipment to produce brief videos focused on their communities. The Youth Storytellers have documented the lives of smallholder farmers in Groundswell International program communities, including the strategies and techniques critical to their success and the universal elements shared with other farmers around the world, while also emphasizing the improved resilience achieved by these farmers through their use of agroecology.
The Youth Storytellers shared their stories with their communities via social media to inspire their neighbors into action, but in 2022 we took the opportunity to finalize and translate 15 of the videos they filmed and shared them with you over the course of the year. This program has been successful beyond what we could have imagined, allowing these innovative youths to use communication as a catalyst to drive social change and shape the narrative internationally surrounding agroecology, climate issues, and how to ‘feed the world.’
In December, we took our Youth Storytellers program one step further by hosting a virtual film festival, showcasing stories from even more incredible youths throughout Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Honduras, and Nepal. The two-hour, first-of-its-kind event gave even more Youth Storytellers the chance to highlight their work capturing community-led and ecological farming solutions, spreading them locally, and changing the narrative globally on how to tackle hunger, poverty, and climate change.
Read more about the film festival on our blog.
Over the course of Summer 2022, Groundswell International’s Director of Program Management, Chris Sacco, published a four-part article series on LinkedIn examining the roots of the interconnected, worldwide food insecurity and environmental crises and the need to accelerate ecological farming methods as a means to address them.
Through the series, Chris offered a wealth of important information – including well-researched data – as he offered a critical look at the current, broken global food system and outlined the current food crisis, how the world has gotten to this point, and how we can reverse course. We feel this is an important read for anyone who cares about the future of our planet and the good of our fellow humans, as well as anyone who is interested in why we do the work that we do here at Groundswell International.
During the week of September 19, Groundswell International gathered with our partners from fourteen different countries throughout the world in Andhra Pradesh, India, for our 2022 Global Conference.
The week included field visits and dialogue with the Andhra Pradesh Community Managed Natural Farming program (APCNF) to see how they are scaling agroecological transitions in that state and discuss how we can continue to learn from and collaborate with each other. We met with women farmers, learned about their wide network of self-help groups, and of various techniques to regenerate soil biology and land to improve production, lives, and climate resilience.
In 2022, we completed a three-and-a-half-year program in southern Mexico focused on strengthening indigenous farming communities and local NGOs to improve the management of their native seed systems. Groundswell’s Regional Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean, Edwin Escoto, provided an overview of the project, which “show[ed] us that feelings of empowerment are growing around working to strengthen local seed systems and bringing focus to those systems’ vital importance for families, not only for consumption, but also for food security”, and the results he witnessed in the field.
Read Edwin’s highlights of the Mexico Seed Project on our blog.
Groundswell International’s Director of Action Learning and Advocacy for West Africa, Peter Gubbels, contributed to “THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY: How Africa can Survive and Thrive,” a book in the Barefoot Guide Agroecology Series. Peter served as both a writer and editor for the book, which examines Africa’s diverse food systems and the impact they have experienced from the current climate crisis and the industrial food system. “The Climate Emergency” also shares stories of hope and regeneration as a result of the use of agroecology from farmers, pastoralists, fishers, indigenous peoples, women, and youth throughout the African continent.
We always love to see our staff act to strengthen local alliances and movements, and Peter once again shared his knowledge on agroecology in Africa with IPPMedia for an article titled “My Food is African: A Campaign to Improve Health and Support Farmers”.
The article, which quotes Peter extensively, discusses the use of agroecology in Africa, the diverse food systems throughout the continent, and the effects of climate change and food industrialization. The article also includes Peter’s reflections on the Uganda meeting of the Citizens and Agroecology working group, which he attended.
Read the article here.
Groundswell International’s newest staff member, Chandi Guntupalli, Donor Relations Manager, hit the ground running and visited Honduras with Steve Brescia at the end of March 2022 for five days to meet with our partner, Vecinos Honduras, and discuss our plans for the Central American Dry Corridor.
Chandi documented her first trip into the field on our blog.
This summer Groundswell International staff member Ethan Scully, Grants Manager, had the opportunity to witness two of our programs in action during trips to Oaxaca, Mexico, and Thiès, Senegal, that took place over the course of a couple of months. Though on completely different continents with completely different cultures, Ethan found that farmers in Oaxaca and Thiès shared “an overwhelming sense of solidarity and loyalty, not only with other members of their respective communities but also with the land they cultivate,” a testament to what makes agroecology a desirable option for rural communities throughout the globe.
Read more about Ethan’s experiences in the field in a report on our blog.
Support Groundswell International in furthering our progress in 2023
We’re so grateful to our partner organizations and the important work they do on the ground in the communities we serve. We’re also grateful to all those who support Groundswell International and our partners in doing this important work.
The progress we make each year is made possible by the financial contributions of supporters around the globe. If you’re passionate about increasing food security for rural communities, reversing the effects of climate change and food industrialization, and strengthening communities to build sustainable farming and food systems from the ground up, please consider donating to Groundswell International.
You can also support Groundswell’s efforts for free every time you shop at Amazon by using AmazonSmile. Simply go to smile.amazon.com and choose Groundswell International as your desired charity, or in the Amazon app find “Settings” in the main menu (☰) and tap on “AmazonSmile” to set your charity of choice. Make sure to visit smile.amazon.com each time you shop on Amazon, and Groundswell International will receive a donation for every qualifying purchase you make, at zero cost to you.
Thank you for joining us in our mission in 2022, we’ll see you in 2023 as we continue our work and share more stories of hope, resiliency, and sustainable solutions from the field!