SfL Takes Farmer-Driven Solutions to the World Stage

October 14, 2021

Solutions from the Land will again demonstrate the breadth of its efforts to represent those in agriculture on the global stage, engaging over the next six weeks in a series of world encompassing forums in which the future of food systems and agriculture is being debated and shaped. Those events include the next major global climate negotiating session – the 26th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) hosted by the United Kingdom Oct. 31 through Nov. 12 in Glasgow, Scotland.

SfL representation at these events is critical to its efforts to promote a multi-dimensional approach to the problems impacting our world, which can – and should – be dealt with simultaneously. Many approaches address multiple parts of these interrelated systems and can be optimized and consolidated. Put simply, solutions that combine “all tools in the toolbox” are essential to face food system, nutrition, ecological, climate and public health challenges.

SfL farmer leaders know that to reach the interconnected goals of economic viability, sustainable production, clean water, increased soil organic matter, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, farmers need a production system that works for them under their specific conditions, location and other factors. No one method will get us there, but a whole arsenal of related practices building on each other can.

Unfortunately, the European Union and others will come into the pending global climate negotiations pushing for their top-down Farm-to-Fork approach to address global challenges, foregoing the flexibility required to attain the many goals otherwise available to agriculture. Their “siloed” approach also negates a critical principle advocated by SfL as necessary to the success of any agriculture-based climate solution – robust farmer input.

Carrying the view that goals can best be met with a whole arsenal of related practices building on each other is SfL Co-Chair Fred Yoder, who spoke this week at the 49th annual meeting of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Committee on Food Security (CFS). Yoder joined other panelists in discussing how to address the negative impact of climate change and water scarcity on food security and nutrition; the issues of climate mitigation and adaptation; and how food systems affect climate and water availability.

Also this week, Pat O’Toole, another SfL leader, represented UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Farmer Constituency in the last special workshop of the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA).

O’Toole, who held one of only two seats in the farmer constituency delegation, joined other workshop participants in looking into sustainable land and water management. The discussion included integrated watershed management strategies, to ensure food security; and strategies and modalities to scale up implementation of best practices, innovations and technologies that increase resilience and sustainable production in agricultural systems according to specific, national circumstances.

Over the two weeks of the COP 26 talks in Glasgow, the SfL delegation will share knowledge, respond to questions and speak publicly – through side vents, attending KJWA work sessions and networking with other farmers and agricultural representatives – about pragmatic climate solutions that well managed farms, ranches and woodlands can deliver.

In all of these forums, SfL leaders are underscoring the fact that farmers and ranchers offer solutions to challenges faced by the food systems, and that they must be at the center of al discussions and decisions. SfL’s farmer envoys are also reminding policymakers that there is no “silver bullet” solution for enhancing the resilience of agriculture; rather a systems approach that recognizes the tremendous diversity of agricultural landscapes and ecosystems and enables producers to utilize the systems and practices that best support their farming operations is the best path to success.

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An Agricultural Renaissance, led by innovative and entrepreneurial farmers, ranchers and foresters constructing sustainable, profitable and resilient systems that lay the foundation for a world of abundance on many scales capable of producing nutritious food, feed, fiber, clean energy, healthy ecosystems, quality livelihoods, and strong rural economies.