Solutions from the Land is not a large organization by most standards, but it is a testament to the big things that can happen when you put a group of farmer-leaders together.
These innovative, entrepreneurial farmers, ranchers and foresters are producing nutritious food, feed, fiber, clean energy, healthy ecosystems, quality livelihoods and strong rural economies. And they are sharing their time. They’re telling their stories. They are offering insight into the progress they have made on the land, their challenges, and what they need to go to the next level.
They are part of an agricultural renaissance, and they are showing local, state, national and international leaders that agriculture is not the problem it is often made out to be. Rather, it holds solutions to global challenges like climate change, food security and sustainable development.
Previously, we shared our plan for elevating farmer voices at the global level in 2023-2026. Now, we want to share the progress we’ve made thus far in 2023.
During the first six months of 2023, SfL, thanks to the dedication of its farmer-leaders, has:
- Promoted farmer-centered principles and recommendations as part of submissions in response to three United Nations requests for input, including those from:
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Committee on Food Security on farmers’ role in food and nutrition security.
- FAO on the new Food System Integrated Program.
- UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on COP27 joint work.
- Secured endorsement of its recommendation to include the “role of agriculture in concurrently delivering ecosystem services and food security and nutrition” in the FAO Committee on Food Security’s multi-year plan of work (MYPoW). The endorsement came from the Private Sector Mechanism within the FAO Committee on Food Security.
- Presented farmer voices at:
- World Agri-Tech Summit in San Francisco, which drew more than 2,500 venture capitalists, inventors and technology providers. Farmers took the main stage for the first time ever during an SfL-organized farmer panel discussion on managing risk and responding to volatility.
- UN Water Conference in New York, where Jocelyn Anderson, an SfL farmer envoy, shared alongside agriculture partners how farmers are leading the way in water management and what they need to take what they’re doing to the next level.
- International Agri-Food Network’s Climate, Science and Innovation Forum, where Amelia Levin Kent, an SfL farmer envoy, spoke on a panel of four international farmers, moderated by SfL President Ernie Shea, about “Accelerating Farmers’ Capacities to Concurrently Deliver SDG Solutions Under Climate Change.” During a side conversation with FAO Director General QU Dongyu, she emphasized the power of sustainable grazing to sequester carbon, deliver food and nutrition security, and contribute solutions to other UN sustainable development goals.
- Held a farmer-focused field day event on the eastern shore of Maryland as part of the AIM for Climate Summit hosted by U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and United Arab Emirates Minister of Climate Change and Environment Mariam Almheiri. The event brought more than 50 international government officials, NGOs, and agriculture and conservation partners to the University of Maryland’s Wye Research and Education Center, where they interacted with and learned from farmers including Shelby Watson-Hampton, Hans Schmidt, and Lindsey Thompson.
- Participated in the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture (GACSA)’s Annual Forum, where Fred Yoder, SfL co-chair and North America Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance chair, moderated a session in which regional alliance members reported progress they have made in deepening support for climate-smart agriculture. Ernie Shea, SfL president, moderated a panel discussion showcasing examples of innovative and impactful climate-smart agriculture programs, including the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Program in Africa, U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs, and Cornell University’s Climate Smart Farming Program.
- Celebrated the election of SfL Co-Chair A.G. Kawamura as United Nations Environment Program Farmers Major Group co-chair. His new position will give SfL greater opportunity to contribute to official conferences, work streams, and other special forums and events, including the Draft Global Strategy for Sustainable Consumption and Production (2023-2030).
- Started conversations with a cross-section of SfL board members, senior advisors and farmer envoys with the goal of constructing a concept note identifying guiding principles to inform decision-making on data management. An early area of agreement is that the value that data provides must be shared fairly across the entire value chain, starting with the farmers who own the data that others want. Fred Yoder, SfL co-chair, and Lois Wright Morton, SfL board member, are leading the initiative.
- Submitted a proposed side event on data management for the 51st plenary session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS51), which will take place in Rome in October.
- Engaged virtually and through partners during June meetings of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Farmers Constituency on the four-year Sharm el-Sheikh joint work, advocating for priorities including water; system approaches; livestock integration; innovation, scientific, technical, local and indigenous knowledge; innovative policy and social approaches; and context-specific priorities and solutions.
For more details on what we have accomplished, see the full six-month progress report.
Join the Cause
We’re always looking for more partners in agriculture. If you or someone you know is interested in supporting SfL as it elevates farmer voices in places where agriculture is misunderstood, we would love to talk.
Contact SfL President Ernie Shea at firstname.lastname@example.org to start the conversation.