SfL Takes on New Role to Advance Agricultural Solutions To Global Mega-Challenges

May 11, 2020

For Immediate Release

(May 11, 2020) – Solutions from the Land (SfL), a national, farmer-led not-for-profit that works to place farmers at the forefront of resolving global challenges, announced today that it is broadly expanding its mission to combat the interconnected threats the world now faces, ranging from food and nutrition security, sustainable livelihoods, and climate change to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The special initiative seeks to enable farmers to be valued and rewarded for delivering solutions to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which collectively call for action by all countries – developed and developing – to work together and create strategies to end hunger, improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth, all while tackling climate change and protecting ecosystems.

“COVID-19 has sent shockwaves across the world, disrupting trade and commerce, compromising public health and upending the food system,” said Co-Chair A.G. Kawamura, an urban farmer from California. “In concert with other challenges including crop failures, locust plagues, regional conflicts, weather extremes, climate change, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, and erosion of ecosystem health and functionality, the pandemic is fueling a global food and nutrition security crisis and is compromising the ability to achieve global sustainability goals.”

“Farmers around the world are facing the urgent question of how to sustainably feed a world population expected to reach 10 billion by 2050 while ensuring the integrity of local and global ecosystems,” said SfL Co-Chair Fred Yoder, an Ohio corn, wheat and soybean grower. “The critical importance of agriculture in meeting world food security, nutrition, health and wellbeing, livelihoods, a changing climate and other environmental goals has never been more visible than seen through the lens of the current global health pandemic.”

“A crisis of this scope and magnitude is unprecedented in our generation,” added Co-Chair Thomas Lovejoy, a professor and former Biodiversity Chair at George Mason University. “However, with data-driven technological advances as well as conservation and agroecology principles in its toolbox, modern agriculture has never had more potential to build solutions to the interconnected threats the world now faces.”

The initiative will be led by a panel consisting of the SfL Board of Directors, with Kawamura, Lovejoy and Dr. Howard-Yana Shapiro, a senior fellow in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at the University of California, Davis, serving as co-chairs. Aiding that panel with input will be a broad team of farmer envoys and distinguished SDG senior advisors.

These nationally and globally renowned farmers, scientists, climate and clean energy authorities, conservation and environmental specialists, food systems and supply chain partners, economists, government agency officials, and other experts will be charged with outlining a vision for a 21st century “Agricultural Renaissance.” They will offer strategic pathways that enable all forms and scales of agriculture to innovate, sustain productivity, enhance resilience to climate change and other shocks, and move the world towards achieving global sustainable development goals.

In addition to identifying proven, pragmatic and innovative agricultural solutions that benefit producers, the public and the planet, SfL will promote this vision and these pathways through proactive engagement in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN Secretary General’s World Food Systems Summit, which is scheduled to be held in 2021. Through each of these forums, SfL’s farmer envoys will collaborate with member states and non-state actors to enable and scale up agricultural solutions to global challenges.

“This urgently needed leadership cannot rely on 20th century, incremental problem-solving approaches and siloed decision making,” SDG Panel Co-Chair Shapiro said. “A new way forward is needed: one that unleashes transformational change, asymmetrical thinking and uncommon collaboration among governments, academia, civil society, business and land managers, along with multifaceted, integrated landscape scale solutions.”

“The world is searching for answers and agriculture has a unique opportunity to advance a new vision for how sustainably managed farms, ranches and woodlands can deliver high-value, near-term and scalable solutions to the ‘mega-challenges’ of our times,” Kawamura added.

For additional information, contact SfL President Ernie Shea at 410-952-0123, or Eshea@SfLDialogue.net.


Solutions from the Land (SfL) is a not-for-profit corporation focused on land-based solutions to global challenges. SfL’s mission is to identify and facilitate the implementation of policies, practices and projects at a landscape scale that will result in land being sustainably managed to produce food, feed, fiber and energy while protecting and improving critical environmental resources and delivering high value solutions to combat climate change. For more on Solutions from the Land, click HERE.

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