Among the world’s best solutions for advancing sustainable agriculture are these three initiatives. All winners of Changemakers’ competitions, they’ve got our community’s select endorsement.
Scholar Farmers in Africa Share Successful Sustainable Practices
In the Kibaale district of Uganda, small-scale farmers are revitalizing their trade and putting a fresh spin on traditional practices.
With the help of the Uganda Rural Development and Training Programme (URDT), local farmers play an active role in their independence, researching and implementing sustainable systems that increase crop production and enhance the quality of life.
From preserving seeds to using alternative energy, URDT is empowering a network of "scholar farmers" to confidently achieve their goals. For their 20-year commitment to improving the status of farmers in Uganda, URDT has earned a winning prize in our 2009 Cultivating Innovation: Solutions for Rural Communities collaborative competition.
Combining Traditional Farming with Scientific Knowledge in Brazil
Agência Mandalla is helping Brazilian farmers make the most of small plots of land with minimal access to water and transforming the way they farm and support their families.
Founded by Ashoka Fellow Willy Pessoa in 2003, Agência Mandalla is able to assist farmers in growing organic food, earning a decent income, and giving back to the environment. The solution lies in a series of agricultural plots that combine to form a "mandala,” a farming technique that combines traditional and scientific knowledge.
Agência Mandalla is a winner of the 2009 Cultivating Innovation: Solutions for Rural Communities collaborative competition, and plans to expand its education initiatives and institute a Mandalla brand of fair trade products.
Tourist Lodge, School and Sustainable Farm, All-in-One in Ecuador
It is one thing for an eco-lodge in the Amazon to offer hot showers and clean beds to world travelers without damaging the land. It is even better to send those travelers home with knowledge about the riches of the forest and a passion for protecting it. But Yachana Lodge, a winner of The Geotourism Challenge: Celebrating Places - Changing Lives competition, which sits on the Napo River in Ecuador, has even bigger aims: to provide a new kind of learning for the people of the forest, to redirect their lives and to build a solid road of hope for the survival of the Amazon.
Today, proceeds from the Lodge help fund a remarkable school that teaches local and indigenous students not just Math, English and Science, but forest conservation, sustainable farming and eco-entrepreneurship.
At Yachana Technical High School, students get hands-on training at the lodge, where they absorb the nuts and bolts of eco-tourism; on an organic farm where they learn sustainable techniques for raising crops, as well as pigs, chickens and fish; and on entrepreneurial projects that generate valuable enterprises as well as income for the school.
Read more about Yachana here.