An Overview of Our Strategic Framework for the Next Five Years
Traditional agricultural and food systems are not working for people or for our planet. The long-term, systemic flaws have been further revealed and exacerbated by recent crises, like the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences; ongoing and increasing conflict; climate shocks; disparity in women’s access to capital and funding; and high prices for food, fossil fuels, and other goods.
Agricultural systems have always been foundational to human survival and the social, cultural, economic, political, and ecological systems we depend upon. The current food system crises underlie and contribute to the broader upheavals in our social, political, and economic landscapes. Transitioning from extractive to regenerative economic and social models, grounded in healthier farming and food systems for people and the planet, is a fundamental challenge of our era. This solution, among others, can strengthen and improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
Real Solutions to Real Crises
Hopeful and viable agricultural and food solutions have been emerging over many decades around the world. They generally have deep roots in strengthening the agency of farmers, community solidarity and collaboration, applying ecological principles and working regeneratively with nature, constant experimentation to identify and spread effective practices in each context, and managing power in decentralized and democratic ways.
There is an emerging paradigm shift – to agroecological farming and food systems that are healthier for people and the planet. Many agencies and ‘experts’ are recognizing that the still dominant response to hunger and poverty – dramatically increasing global food production by further extending industrialized agriculture to ‘feed the world’ – is the wrong direction for resolving the crises we face.
The essence of agroecology lies in communities’ creative capacities to farm productively and sustainably with nature, instead of against it. This may be the most powerful force that can be unleashed to overcome the interlinking challenges of hunger, poverty, climate change, and environmental degradation.
Our Theory of Change
Our organization exists to strengthen communities to build healthy farming and food systems from the ground up. We envision a world where there are sustainable, healthy, nourishing, and just food and farming systems for all people and our planet.
To achieve this, we pursue a theory of change that posits:
IF groups of farmers experiment with agroecology to farm in more productive and regenerative ways; and if women’s agency, leadership, and gender equity are prioritized; and if successful farmers (women, men, and youth) catalyze the spread of agroecology through farmer-to-farmer networks and strong community-based organizations; and farmers and consumers connect through local market arrangements, to both incentivize agroecological farming while also providing healthy, diverse food to local people; and farmers, consumers, and civil society groups join forces to work for policies, governance, narratives and financing mechanisms that support agroecology and sustainable local food economies; and we collaborate across borders to strengthen these local initiatives, accelerate learning between them, and amplify their voices for broader systems change…
THEN farming families and communities will be more productive, have more income, and be more resilient; People will have more access to a diversity of locally produced and nutritious food; Soil, water, biodiversity, and the environment will be improved; Women and other marginalized people will have a greater voice and power to provide for their families and transform their communities; and, the movement to create healthier farming and food systems will be stronger.
An Overview of Our Strategic Framework Goals (2023-2027)
In response to the global food crisis, and along with introspection of our own progress, strengths, and challenges, we, as an organization, have identified specific Strategic Framework Goals for 2023 – 2027.
Many of these goals build on the successes of our holistic approach to date and emphasize areas of growth that are overlapping and synergistic; we also will identify actions that address multiple goals in catalytic ways.
We define this document as a ‘Strategic Framework’ rather than a rigid ‘Plan’ because that allows us continuously to learn, adapt, and respond to opportunities and challenges that may arise.
7 Program Strategic Goals (SGs)
- Strengthen our Core Programs in three regions
- Territorial Amplification
- Strengthening local food consumption and markets
- Stronger Alliances to Influence Policy, Discourse, and Financial Flows
- Gender equity
- Youth leadership
- Communications and Documentation
5 Organizational Development Strategic Goals
- A Vibrant Action-Learning Network of Strong NGO members, globally and regionally
- Effective International and Regional Staff Team
- Effective Planning, Budgeting, Monitoring & Evaluation (PBM&E) System
- A Solid Resource Base
- Effective Financial Management and Sustainable Business Model
In pursuing all of these Strategic Goals over the next five years, we face several key challenges.
- Balancing aspirations with available resources.
- Grounding scaling and alliance-building strategies in effective community-level programs.
- Ensuring regeneration and equity of leadership at community, NGO member, and staff levels.
- Using adaptive management to respond to emerging challenges and opportunities.
We developed our Strategic Framework through a participatory process that took place over a year and a half. We consulted with our stakeholders, our NGO network members, staff, board, funders, and allies. Together, we will continue to experiment our way to success.