Food, seed and climate change resilience
Promoting regenerative agriculture, supporting small farmers – especially women – to enhance their indigenous knowledge and seed diversity, and to safeguard seed and food sovereignty for generations to come.
Seed and food sovereignty for climate change resilience is a core part of Gaia’s work. Food sovereignty is defined as ‘the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and regenerative methods’. Food which is local, is grown in nourished not intoxicated soils, and is rich in nutrients. This goes beyond food ‘security’ – it prioritises local and national economies and markets over international trade, and our responsibility to future generations of all species through the way in which we grow our food.
Food sovereignty goes hand in hand with regenerative agricultural practices such as composting, water harvesting and polyculture (diversity of crops), often referred to as agroecology. Agroecological approaches to food growing are key for climate change resilience as they sequester carbon, cooling the planet rather than contributing to climate change. This approach is completely juxtaposed to the industrial agriculture system which generates vast amounts of greenhouse gases, is the driver of landgrabbing globally, destroys and pollutes biodiverse habitats, keeps animals in appalling conditions and places profit before all else.
Gaia is proud to work with small, family farmers supporting diverse, local, agroecological farming practices. It is these farmers who feed over 70% of the global population, on a quarter of the land. By offering trainings in reviving indigenous seed diversity and knowledge, by facilitating immersive community processes such as dialogues, eco-cultural mapping and calendars, and through strategic advocacy collaboration, we support communities to regain confidence in their traditional knowledge and their indigenous seed varieties. We promote peer-to-peer, farmer-to-farmer exchanges, encouraging communities to link up with others doing the same.
Click on the links below to find out more about our lead programmes relating to seed, food and climate change resilience, and to watch the films which bring this work to life.
Much of our work on seed and food is known as the Community, Seed and Knowledge (CSK) programme, an approach developed by Gaia with local communities and partners over the last three decades. CSK understands that the revival of indigenous, locally-adapted seed and food systems and traditional knowledge is the foundation of climate change resilience. Read more
A global photographic initiative celebrating the small-holder farmers and fisherfolk who produce over 70% of the world's food. Featuring over 300 images, 50 photographers, 50 farming communities and 6 continents, We Feed the World demonstrates how small-scale farming not only provides the majority of the world’s food but also offers solutions to many other planetary crises. Read more
With genetic and agro-biodiversity as its central focus, the Seed Sovereignty programme is underpinned by the principles of seed and food sovereignty. It supports skill-sharing, training and collaboration across the seed movement both in the UK and Europe, creating a more cohesive and connected counter force to the pressures of industrial agriculture Read more
The Seeds of Freedom trilogy charts the story of seed from its roots at the heart of traditional, diversity-rich farming systems across the world, to being transformed into a powerful commodity, used to monopolise the global food system. Seeds of Freedom (2012) was narrated by Jeremy Irons, Seeds of Sovereignty (2013) by Theo Sowa & Seeds of Justice (2015) by Jon Snow. Find out more and watch all of the films here. Read more
In this excellent article, journalist Jane Palmer explores how Gaia’s partners the Snowchange Cooperative are restoring climate-critical ecosystems at landscape scale across Finland. Snowchange’s approach is unique in the way… Read More
Useful reports & publications
For whom? Questioning the food and farming research agenda’ is the latest report from the Food Ethics Council. This collection of articles addresses key questions about how the research agenda… Read More
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