From The Fields : From seed to root

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By Melinda Kramer and Amira Diamond
We have just returned from our India Women and Agriculture Learning Exchange.
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This rich and informative tour through Northern India brought 14 women practitioners and advocates in agriculture and food systems to the frontlines of India’s sustainable agriculture movement.As we journeyed through the vast and diverse country, we observed time and time again the vital yet under-recognized role that women farmers play in India’s food and agriculture sector. Although we are well familiar with the jarring statistic that more than 84% of women in India are involved in agricultural activities, we were reminded with each visit that women truly are central to the world’s food production. In each village we visited, we heard women describe the importance of accessing the training, capital, market opportunities, and moral support they need to ensure the health and sustainability of their communities.
4078907359_5a8c7e98c3_oThroughout the journey, we heard a very clear theme:

Women need greater connection with practitioner and information networks, as well as access to marketing support, appropriate technologies, capital, and business development training. Although there is a growing movement of women change agents and the visionary men who stand as their allies, women’s efforts remain largely isolated and underserved.

Amidst the challenges, we observed countless stories of triumph and courage. From village to village, women are upholding the knowledge of traditional agriculture techniques, saving seeds, launching advocacy campaigns, creating cooperatives, and modeling the solutions.
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Our vision for the Women and Agriculture Initiative is infused with the spirit of these women’s successes, and we hope to play a meaningful role in connecting resources to needs in this burgeoning movement.
4078906693_91b434734d_oWe now enter the Learning Exchange Assessment phase of our work.  We will work as a group to synthesize the challenges and needs we saw, heard and witnessed on our trip.  We will then prepare an outline of capacity-building training programs and advocacy projects that work to address those needs.  We’ll keep you posted as the vision unfolds…

amira3_thumb[2] MK_thumb[8] Melinda Kramer and Amira Diamond are Co-Directors of Women’s Earth Alliance.  You can read more about them and what they’ve been involved with before WEA on our website.

More pictures from the trip can be found on our Flickr page.
This is the final post of our series entitled From The Fields which followed WEA’s Women and Agriculture delegation on their 10 day journey through Northern India. Read more about this initiative here.

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