To celebrate World Soils Day on 5 December 2012, AME Foundation, who are the AgriCultures Network member in India, joined the large Indian organisation Society for the Protection of Wasteland Development in a major event for school pupils and teachers in Delhi.
Films about living soils, produced by different organisations, were presented as background material for the children, together with different editions ofLEISA India magazine. About 18 teachers and 60 students then participated in an essay competition. The students articulated surprisingly well how soils are linked intimately with ecological well being and rural livelihoods.
A few weeks later, the city of Hubli was the scene of an international development dialogue on social entrepreneurship. AME’s Director, K.V.S. Prasad was invited to speak at one of the panels, emphasising the importance of family farmers. Prasad highlighted how farmers are often neglected as a constituency, even though they make up 70 per cent of the rural population in India. The audience appreciated AME’s promotion of approaches such as Farmer Field Schools as a way to motivate the rural youth, and the notion of farmers as “shareholders” rather than “stakeholders”.
The event made clear that agro-ecological approaches are more relevant now than ever, and that the upcoming 2014 International Year of Family Farming is a key moment to advance this type of agriculture.
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