Scotland Community Exhibition

Rothes

Moray

09 Oct 2018 -

09 Oct 2020

Isles of Uist

Scotland

The community exhibition held in Scotland was organised in tandem with the Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF), recognising young crofters with an awards ceremony at the ‘Celebrating the Spirit of Crofting’ event in Rothes, Moray on 9th October 2019.

Isles of Uist, Scotland. Photographer: Sophie Gerrard 

The Isles of Uist lie off the coast of Scotland, forming the last stronghold of both the Gaelic language and a crofting tradition that has maintained small-scale farming for generations. Neil and Morag MacPherson are third generation crofters who grow small oats and bere barley for seed, ensuring the local community can rely on the resilience of their crops which have adapted to the harsh climate of the Western Isles. Meanwhile, over on North Uist, the MacDonalds operate a herd of 300 highland cattle, which are fed on a mix of arable crops grown on the croft. In Autumn, they are led over to a neighbouring tidal island where they will stay and graze for the winter. Angus’ croft was handed onto him some years ago by his mother, Ena, who still remembers the days of growing up here hunting, fishing and helping the community harvest every September until nightfall. Determined to see this legacy continue she speaks out nationally on crofters rights. ‘You have hard times and you have good times. If you really love it you just carry on. It is something that is in your blood.’ she says.

Spain Community Exhibition

Seville

11 Oct 2018 -

11 Oct 2020

Andalusia

Spain

RAS (Red Andaluza de Semillas) organised an exhibition in the Public Library ‘Biblioteca Pública Infanta Elena’ in Seville, over the same 10-day period as the London launch exhibition, 11th – 22nd October 2018. They organised a series of events, where farmers, seed savers and volunteers gave various talks about seed, organic farming and farmers’ experiences on the ground in Andalusia. Arantxa from RAS said “it has been quite an experience really beautiful. In Seville, many people have visited the exhibition and have attended the talks, and the important thing is that we have contributed to this precious project, spreading the principles of sustainability and the dignity of food producers in a sustainable way, this is our contribution to Gaia and it has been a pleasure! Surely the exhibition has been precious all over the world!“.

La Marinaleda, Spain. Photographer: Spencer Murphy 

The people of Marinaleda town, after many years of unemployment and hardship, rose up and laid claim to the abandoned lands of the local nobility by starting a cooperative. Marinaleda is now living proof of their own motto, ‘Otro Mundo es posible’ – ‘Another World is Possible’.

Somerset Community Exhibition

Glebe Farm Veg Shack

Pitney Village

15 Oct 2018 -

18 Oct 2020

Somerset

England

We Feed the World photos were displayed in Glebe Farm’s “veg shack”, the main farm shop in the village of Pitney and Glebe Farm’s cafe for the duration of the main exhibition in London and for a few months afterwards. Farmer, Lizzie Walrond, said “they did cause a lot of  talking points, questions and just pure admiration of the beauty and originality of the pictures and their subjects. We loved hosting our little part of the exhibition.”

The Walronds, England. Photographer: Kate Peters

Glebe Farm on the Somerset levels has been in the Walrond Family for 200 years. Rob and Lizzie have seen first-hand the huge changes that have taken place in British farming, from the introduction of chemical fertilisers to the pressure of supermarket monopolies to what they say concerns them most – the extreme weather patterns that now dominate food production in the UK. ‘There has always been unpredictability because it’s the weather and we’re in England’ says Lizzie. ‘But in the past you might have had a ruined harvest due to flooding or drought once every 20 years, now it’s happening far more often’.

North Carolina Community Exhibition

High Country Food Hub

Boon Town

16 Oct 2018 -

21 Oct 2020

North Carolina

USA

Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, a women-led farmers’ organisation, organised a series of events and an exhibition in the local High Country Food Hub in Boon, North Carolina. The High Country Food Hub is where many of the local organic farmers deliver their harvests and where their customers convene to pick up their fresh produce. Against the Grain Farm, who participated in We Feed the World, is part of Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture and deliver a good portion of their produce to the High Country Food Hub.

After the apple harvest, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture organised an apple tasting event and apple pie contest in tandem with their community We Feed the World exhibition. Since then, the We Feed the World exhibition has been decorating the Food Hub and accompanying the local customers on their shops.

Against the Grain Farm, North Carolina. Photographer: Matt Eich

In 2011 Holly Whitesides and Andy Bryant chose to leave the city and their careers behind them and do something radical. They moved to a twenty-acre farm at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, and started to regenerate the land.

Andy and Holly’s farm, now called Against the Grain, was a tobacco farm when they took it over seven years ago. In its former life the land had been heavily sprayed with chemical fertilisers which had devastating impacts on the soil and all that grew on it. When renovating the farmhouse, the couple found a soil survey from the 1940’s which showed them all they needed to know about what had happened in the intervening years: They were farming on subsoil, all of the topsoil had been eroded.

Philippines Community Exhibition

SM City Iloilo Mall

Zarraga

19 Oct 2018 -

19 Oct 2020

Panay Island

Philippines

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ZIDOFA (Zarraga Integrated Diversified Organic Farmers Association) reached hundreds of people by hosting their community exhibition at the SM City Iloilo Mall on October 19th till October 25th 2018. Read their story below.

Zarraga, Philippines. Photographer: Hannah Reyes Morales 

Like many farmers around the world, the rice farmers from Zarraga on Panay Island found themselves trapped in a cycle of using chemical fertilisers to grow their rice crops. What had been sold to them initially as a way to increase yields, very quickly became a trap, leaving them with soils depleted of nutrients and unable to grow anything without more chemical inputs. The cycle left these once self-sufficient farmers dependent on agri-chemical companies, who sold them not just the fertilisers but the seeds as well. There seemed no way out until they learnt about SRI (System of Rice Intensification), a method of rice production that uses regenerative agricultural techniques and has proven to produce bigger yields in many countries around the world. Now, four years on, 40 farmers on the island are enjoying the same results; harvesting double the amount of rice and no longer suffering the health effects of using chemicals on a daily basis. Today, the farmers, the buffalo, the fish and the soils of Panay Island are thriving.

Slovakia Community Exhibition

50 people

27 Oct 2018 -

27 Oct 2020

Dlha Nad Vahom

Slovakia

On the 27th October 2018, Zuzana Pastorková held her community exhibition in a friend’s courtyard. She was pleasantly surprised that despite the rain, over 50 people of all ages came to explore the photos and eat the wonderful spread of food she had prepared. Zuzana has attracted local media attention through the exhibition and plans on continuing to spread the word of her farm and the exhibition throughout the coming months. Read her story below.

Zuzana Pastorková, Slovakia. Photographer: Tina Hillier 

In the small village of Dlha Nad Váhom, Zuzana Pastorková, runs a market garden from the seeds and cuttings given to her by the local community. Zuzana puts the success of the garden down to the way everything works together, including her six Indian runner ducks who roam freely eating the pests from the plants. ‘This is very different to industrial agriculture. To understand what’s happening in nature you have to be quiet and observe and then the answers emerge on their own’.

Nicaragua Community Exhibition

FEM

200 people

31 Oct 2018 -

31 Oct 2020

Northern Nicaragua

FEM (Fundación Entre Mujeres – Foundation Between Women) took the opportunity to host their first exhibition on October 31 2018, in commemoration of the 24th anniversary of the FEM and commemoration of the 15th October international day of rural women. With more than 200 peasant women present, they said “the photos looked amazing and it made us proud to know that us women are part of this global campaign”.

The Goddesses, Nicaragua. Photographer: Susan Meiselas 

Reyna Merlo and Isabel Zamora first met at a women’s gathering twenty years ago. As single mothers without land or money, they had no choice but to work for the tobacco plantations that dominate Northern Nicaragua. Their chance meeting led to a brave decision; to take control of their lives by creating an organic coffee growing cooperative called La Fundación Entre Mujeres (FEM). The cooperative, also known as Las Diosas (The Goddesses), now has 1500 female members and provides a huge infrastructure for women in similar situations, running their own schools, self-defense groups, seed reservoirs and a coffee factory.

New Zealand Community Exhibition

Marae

Community Hall

07 Nov 2018 -

07 Nov 2020

Waipatu

New Zealand

The community of Waipatu had a small but very worthwhile exhibition at the marae (village hall/community centre for the Maori). Read their story below.

Aunty’s Garden, New Zealand. Photographer: Russell Kleyn 

On the East coast of New Zealand’s North Island is a small town called Waipatu. It was once a thriving place with families and gardens, steeped in ancestral heritage. Today, many of the families have moved away to find work in the cities. However, thanks to Arohanui (Hanui) Lawrence, also known locally as Aunty, the gardens of the local ‘marae’ – the meeting house – have once again become a food growing hub where locals can come and take away fresh produce grown in the spiral shaped vegetable patches that are lovingly tended to by Aunty and her team of volunteers. While the vegetables provide much needed nutrition for the local Maori population, it is the community aspect of growing that Aunty cherishes most. The highlight of the year is when the family return home to help harvest the kumara – a white flesh sweet potato – and grandchildren and great-grandchildren work alongside their elders carrying on a tradition that is over 800 years old.

East Flores Community Exhibition

Likotuden

08 Nov 2018 -

08 Nov 2020

East Flores

Indonesia

Martin Westlake who photographed the sorghum ladies, returned to their great delight to give them their portraits. The photo attached shows the women enjoying sifting through the photos of themselves and their friends. “Last week I was back at the sorghum village in Flores. Before shooting Maria’s portrait I spent some time with the sorghum ladies and gave them prints of their portraits from last year – it was very precious to see how overjoyed they were with the photos.”

Likotuden, Indonesia. Photographer: Martin Westlake 

Community leader Maria Loretha spent months travelling around the remote villages of East Flores talking to elders, before she eventually found the indigenous sorghum seed varieties that used to grow prolifically in this region of Indonesia. The ancient crop had all but died out as successive governments encouraged farmers to grow white rice and maize instead. For the women of Likotuden, the old sorghum seeds have become a route to independence, allowing them to feed their families and break free from a reliance on chemical fertilisers and subsequent debt. 

Finland Community Exhibition

Selkie School

16 Nov 2018 -

16 Nov 2020

Selkie

Finland

This Selkie exhibit was organised on 16th November 2018 as a part of a village council event “Traditions of Selkie” at the Selkie school. Additionally, Matti Martikainen prepared 8mm films from 1960s and 1970s from Selkie on bear hunting, fisheries, berry picking, preparing traditional bread, and many other traditional actions.

Selkie, Finland. Photographer: Joel Karpannen 

Located in North Karelia, in the far-east of the Finnish Boreal, the people of Selkie have relied on fishing, hunting and berry gathering for thousands of years. In the midst of this landscape lies Linnunsuo (‘Marsh of the Birds’ in Finnish); now a big, beautiful wetland where birds stop and nest on their migrations to and from Siberia. Not so long ago, however, Linnunsuo was an active mine where peat – a potent fossil fuel – was stripped from the earth. The death of a large number of fish, led the villagers of Selkie to start a campaign that saw them become the first community in Finland to get an active peat mine shut down. Since then they have embarked on an ambitious programme to protect and re-wild wetlands, like Linnunsuo, using a combination of traditional knowledge and science. 

Sweden Community Exhibition

Kalix Galleria

16 Nov 2018 -

16 Nov 2020

Kalix

Sweden

The Kustringen community hosted their exhibition at the end of last year in the Kalix Galleria, their shopping centre in Kalix, the most frequently visited location in the area, reaching many members of public and sharing many of the stories from around the world, as well as their own. Read their story below.

Kalix, Sweden. Photographer: Clare Benson 

As well as a source of food and a means of income, fishing is away of life here. It is woven deep into the language and knowledge of local people. But Joakim Bostrom and his friends could be the last generation to pass this knowledge on to their children. New Swedish legislation banning all fishing in waters less than three metres in depth threatens to criminalise the ancestral fishing methods of the Kustringen fishermen and fails to recognise their ability to steward Nature and maintain the health of the fish.

Zimbabwe Community Exhibition

Shashé Village

ZIMSOFF

17 Jul 2019 -

17 Jul 2020

Masvingo

Zimbabwe

Shashé community, a central part of Zimbabwe Small Holder Organic Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF), hosted their community exhibition in the village, bringing together many of the 4000 farmers of the community to display some of their incredible seed and farm diversity.

The event was organised to celebrate their seeds, exhibit the photos, but also to engage with the District Head of Crops and Livestock and the District Administrator. ZIMSOFF is heavily involved in fighting for the rights of smallholder farmers and is engaging with government officials to demonstrate the important role and resilience of smallholder food systems to influence policy decisions and allow more diverse smallholder systems to flourish.

Shashe community, Zimbabwe. Photographer: Jo Ratcliffe

In the dryland area of central Masvingo province, Zimbabwe, lies the vibrant community of Shashe. Until land reform in Zimbabwe twenty years ago, this 15,000 acres of land belonged to just three commercial ranchers who raised cattle for export. Today, it is home to nearly 400 families who farm a wide variety of grain, vegetables and livestock that feed their families in a climatic and politically unstable environment.

 

Agroecology In Action Parliament Event

Parliament

London

10 Sep 2019 -

10 Nov 2020

UK

In the UK, the new Agriculture Bill carries an unprecedented potential to place care for the land, small-scale farming and local food systems at the centre of British environmental, food and rural policy, and to move away from EU policies benefitting large-scale farming to the detriment of small producers. A campaign for agroecology to be included in the new Agriculture Bill is ongoing, and more than 4000 people have been writing to their MPs on the matter.

On September the 10th an all-party parliamentary group on agroecology in British Parliament saw the participation of the Landworkers AllianceCampaign to Protect Rural EnglandSoil Association, organic farmers and growers, and the The Gaia Foundation. The event was full of participants; MPsLords, campaigning organisations and farmers gathered to discuss and promote the principles of agroecology and regenerative approaches to food systems. UK farmers contributed with a feast of local and organic food. Virtuous examples of agroecological farming across the country were celebrated through presentations and the We Feed the World photos.

80 Years Fighting for Land, Itinerant Mexican Exhibition

San Isidro Village

14 Oct 2019 -

14 Oct 2020

Jalisco

Mexico

The village of San Isidro commemorate 80 years of struggle to recuperate land that belongs to them. Four generations have inherited the land dispute and continue to fight for 280 hectares which since 1987 have been illegally invaded by American corporation Nutrilite, a subsidiary of Amway.

The village abounded with local corn, tamales, and tacos for the week long event. The community came together with talks, workshops and a fiesta to celebrate and invigorate their long and ongoing battle. Having taken part in We Feed the World, they held their community exhibition in the “Ejido Hall” (communal farmlands’ hall) to help celebrate their cause.

 

 

 

Tecolotlan Maize Festival & Community Exhibition

Tecolotlan Town

16 Oct 2019 -

16 Oct 2020

Jalisco

Mexico

Part of the itinerant exhibition travelling around Mexico with Colectivo por La Autonomía (COA) and The Network in Defense of Maize, We Feed the World visited the town of Tecolotlan in Jalisco. Farmer Rodolfo Gonzalez and COA brought We Feed the World to the first Maize Festival in town of Tecolotlan, Jalisco. Organised by the local government of Tecolotlan, talks, tastings and a food fair took hold of Tecolotlan’s main square on Wednesday 16th October. Farmers came from the surrounding area to celebrate their local maize diversity.

Maize, being the most sacred and staple crop of Mexico and much of Central America, is inextricably linked to food sovereignty and the well being of communities. Cheap maize from the USA under NAFTA and now UMSCA have systematically undermined indigenous maize varieties and the peasant food system. Nevertheless, indigenous maize remains strong and diverse with communities like Tecolotlan and the Network in Defense of Maize fighting back against the industrial overhaul of their food systems; celebrating their indigenous maize and countering the agroindustry lobby.

See more photos and videos of the event here.