Family farming can address the needs of Planet Earth

Food Security02 Dec 2009Fabio Kessler Dal Soglio

Even against all expectations and restrictive policies, family farming has been able to reproduce itself, remaining an important activity for rural families, for the production of food and novelties. Local experiences of agro-ecosystem management, with a diversity of farming styles, show the power of family farming to survive and respond to the crisis in global agriculture. Family farming thrives, even without the support of specific public policies. These experiences, as well as the ones presented by the LEISA magazine, serve as a demonstration of the force of family farming. They show its potential to ensure food sovereignty around the world, respecting local cultures and local ecosystems, especially for vulnerable populations.

The technologies generated by family farmers are generally better suited to local socioeconomic and ecological conditions, and therefore are appropriate for sustainable development. However, participatory methodologies can help family farmers link local and scientific knowledge and build better sustainable agriculture methods. Farmers’ participation in R&D programmes allows the development of locally adapted solutions with lower investment levels and reduced environmental costs, and increases the chance of rapid adoption of the novelties by communities. Thus, family farming can transform agriculture into a human activity that contributes to the solutions for the needs of Planet Earth: reducing hunger, mitigating and adapting to climate change, keeping the world’s land productive. In short: family farming is the key to the world’s sustainability.