Supporting connections and relations among farmers, urban people, students, artists, policy makers and others is at the heart of agroecology. Cultivate! co-hosts brigades, caravans and other exchange processes, aiming to strengthen territories in advancing healthy food and farming systems. Here is a selection of our current activities.
> Peasant to peasant exchange in the Netherlands
Partner: Toekomstboeren (La Via Campesina Netherlands)
In the Netherlands Cultivate! supports peasant to peasant exchanges. In these exchanges the knowledge, values and aspirations of farmers is at the centre, while other experts also participate in this process. The exchanges are held in four regions in the Netherlands and tackle issues that were proposed by farmers, such as accessing land, using perrenials and establishing alternative markets. By sharing their experiences farmers find solutions to some of the problems they are facing and are inspired to experiment in collaboration with others. One innovation that was already born out of these peasant to peasant exchanges is an initiative around land acquisition for new peasants.
Contact: Leonardo van den Berg, leonardo[at]cultivatecollective.org
> Solidarity brigades for agroecological reconstruction in Puerto Rico
Partners: Organización Boricuá de Agricultura Ecológica de Puerto Rico, Black Dirt Farm Collective, La Vía Campesina, Climate Justice Alliance, FoodFirst
Hurricane María hit the Caribbean so strongly in September 2017, that the vegetation went from lush green to dark brown in a matter of hours. The state government has demonstrated an almost complete lack of support towards ecological farming. In order to support agroecological reconstruction, we are teaming up with local and international organisations in a series of solidarity brigades called the Guagua Solidaria. The brigades take the form of moving camps, with brigadistas from all over Puerto Rico, the US, Canada, Central America and Europe spending 3-4 days in each farm rebuilding farm structures, houses and planting. Spaces are incorporated for political training, dialogue, workshops, cultural exchanges and reflection. Exchanges like these not only help farmers get better positioned to confront the next hurricane season(s), but also help bolster the movement work of organisers, educators, activists and farmers that often spills over beyond a farm’s perimeters into diverse communities and across many issues.
Contact: Georges Felix, georges[at]cultivatecollective.org
> The 2018 Food Caravan builds the movement in the Netherlands
Partner: Voedsel Anders platform
In 2018, a Food Caravan passes through seven regions of the Netherlands. Cultivate! is among the main organisers, united in the Dutch Voedsel Anders platform. Participants in the various activities of the Food Caravan 2018 exchange experiences around the food transition, generate new insights and place these in a broader framework of policy, practice and research. We zoom in on the four central themes of Voedsel Anders: agroecology, short chains, fair agriculture and trade policy, and land governance. The Caravan aims to generate visibility for promising, regionally embedded food initiatives, and to create new narratives and connections that help to strengthen the movement for equitable and sustainable food and farming systems. In 2014 and 2016, Voedsel Anders organised two national conferences which drew over a thousand people. Since then, awareness in the Netherlands is growing that it is high time for systems change in food and farming. The Food Caravan takes a regional approach to contribute to that change.
Contact: Janneke Bruil, janneke[at]cultivatecollective.org