As 2016 draws to a close, Farming First asks: what have been the major milestones for sustainable agriculture this year? And how has Farming First and its supporters engaged with them? Join us for a unique round up of the year – in ag #tags!
January: #LovePulses – Celebrating the International Year of Pulses
On January 1st, the International Year of Pulses officially kicked off. From “Pulse Feasts” hosted across the world, to a global competition looking for the next generation of pulse-based products, the International Year of Pulses has shed a spotlight on this nutritious and sustainable superfood.
February: #Sci4Dev – Celebrating Science & Innovation in Agriculture
In February, Farming First teamed up with CGIAR to tell 28 stories of how science and innovation is lifting smallholder farmers from poverty, to prosperity. The online case study collection demonstrated how investments in science can go beyond simply meeting food security needs, but contribute to broader interlinked goals such as natural resource management, improved nutrition and resilient rural livelihoods. Click the image to explore the stories.
March: #IWD2016 – Hearing Women Farmers Speak on International Women’s Day
Ever since Farming First launched its “Female Face of Farming” infographic in 2012, we have championed rural women’s role in sustainable agriculture and global food security. This year, we compiled a round up our Farming First TV interviews with female farmers, and published a guest blog by the World Food Program’s Purchase for Progress team, which has been working with female pulse producers to diversify their income. Click the image to read our #IWD2016 newsletter.
April: #GCARD3 – Meeting the Young Agripreneurs at GCARD3
All through 2016, our eyes have been on the next generation of sustainable agriculture advocates. During the Third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development, we profiled the young “agripreneurs” who had won a start-up grant for their innovative agriculture business ideas. From cultivating herbs for beauty products in Barbados to revolutionising dairy farming in India – the stories were both impressive and inspiring!
May: #WFOGA2016 – Onsite at the WFO’s General Assembly
This year we joined hundreds of farmers from all over the world at the World Farmers’ Organisation’s annual General Assembly, which was held in Victoria Falls, Zambia. As well as blogging about the event, we captured interviews with the farmers on how they are coping with climate change, to feature in our “CSA in Action campaign”.
June: #FoodPrize16 – Biofortification Pioneers Scoop World Food Prize
Our media partnership with the World Food Prize continued this year, and we had the pleasure of working with the Foundation to promote the 2016 winners of the World Food Prize to the press in June. Drs. Maria Andrade, Jan Low and Robert Mwanga of the International Potato Center, and Dr. Howarth Bouis of HarvestPlus were awarded the accolade for their work on biofortification, and in particular the vitamin-A rich orange flesh sweet potato. The news was covered all over the world and even featured in TIME magazine’s “25 best inventions of 2016”!
July: #WYSD – Empowering Youth in Agriculture
July 15th was World Youth Skills Day, and Farming First supporter YPARD partnered with the CGIAR Research Program on Drylands, to obtain youth perspectives on the realities, challenges and aspirations of life in drylands and opportunities for making a living from agriculture. For a full round up of their findings, visit the YPARD blog.
August: #WWWeek – Exploring water efficiencies in agriculture for World Water Week
Agriculture is the biggest user of freshwater on the planet – using up to 70% of global supplies. Many Farming First supporters are working to make water use in agriculture more efficient. Take a look at this study from Fintrac and partners, that has studied lessons learned from groups commercialising drip irrigation in smallholder markets. And check out this blog from iDE, that tells the story of plantain farmers in Honduras that have improved their incomes and productivity through the same innovation.
September: #CSAinAction – Explaining Climate Smart Agriculture during Climate Week
Back in June 2016, we partnered with the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture to explain the concept and also showcase how it is being put into action by farmers worldwide. We sourced 28 stories from Farming First supporters and GACSA members, and produced an animated video that has now been viewed more than 5,000 times!
October: #IamAg – Inspiring a New Generation in Agricultural Careers
In October, we launched a unique campaign to show young people the range of exciting careers that are available in agriculture, beyond the farm! We had a series of youth bloggers telling us about their careers from finance to TV production, as well as 17 video interviews with experts, who told the stories behind their success. Hundreds of you told your stories online using the hashtag #IamAg and used our “I am Ag” badge on your Twitter and Facebook profiles. Farming First supporter Sir Gordon Conway wrote an opinion article for The Telegraph on getting young people into agriculture too. Catch up on the whole campaign here.
November: #CCawards – Double Win for Farming First at CorpComms Awards
Our 2015 campaign “The Story of Agriculture and the Sustainable Development Goals” received two accolades at the CorpComms Awards in London in November. We won “best communication for a non-profit” and came highly commended in the “best international campaign” category. “The Story of Agriculture and the SDGs” was a year-long campaign that sought to ensure agriculture and sustainable farming issues were well represented in the text of Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Farming First supporters went on three missions to the United Nations in New York, to meet with and present to Post-2015 negotiators, as well as taking part in side events to demonstrate how agriculture can be considered “a common thread” throughout the SDGs. An interactive toolkit was also launched, to explain the impact that investing in agriculture can have on a range of goals beyond Goal Two to end hunger, such as health, economic growth, gender equality and combatting climate change. Visit the portal here.
December: #WorldSoilDay – How improving our soils will improve food supplies
We can’t feed the world without feeding our soil first. This is the message we helped Farming First supporters convey on World Soil Day, 5th December. Leading soil scientist Patrick Heffer blogged for Farm Journal, and Chair of the International Fertilizer Association’s agriculture committee Kapil Mehan wrote for Business Fights Poverty on the latest breakthroughs that can reverse the trend of soil degradation across the world.
Did we miss an important ag #tag of 2016? Tweet us @FarmingFirst to share the important sustainable agriculture issues you’ve been promoting this year!