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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 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 the bottom-up movement to overcome hunger, poverty, and the devastating effects of climate change. Since then, we have expanded from supporting partners in Ecuador and Haiti the first year to supporting partners in Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mali, Nepal, Senegal, and Western North Carolina. 

Groundswell’s Founders

Bottom row, left to right:  Fatou Batta, Burkina Faso; Rene Lucero, the Philippines; Ross Borja, Ecuador; Kaia & Hazel Ambrose, Canada; Emma Kirwan, US. Top row, left to right:  Steve Sherwood, Ecuador; Cantave Jean-Baptiste, Haiti; Chris Sacco, US; Natalie Elwell, US; Steve Brescia, US; Jackie Chenier, Honduras; Peter Gubbels, Ghana.

The founders of Groundswell International have worked for decades to empower thousands of rural communities and organizations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to sustainably improve their lives. They have been at the leading edge of developing methods to spread ecological farming practices, farmer innovation, farmer-to-farmer extension, community health, and strengthening local organizations to lead their own development processes.




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Founder Bios




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