About us

Food security is one of the main global challenges for the coming decades. Climate change and loss of crop diversity due to increased dependence on commercial seed production are its biggest threats. We are all interconnected and depending on food production that relies on our planets’ biodiversity. More than ever, our food production systems require not only a wide range of plant varieties resistant to pests and diseases, but also varieties that are capable of adapting to shifting conditions of increased salinity, drought and flooding, and more irregular weather patterns in general. The Sowing Diversity=Harvesting Security program aims to improve access and use of crop diversity and to change current unsustainable and unequal food production systems.
        
            
                
                    
                                             
                
            
            
                             
        
    

How we act

The power of the SD=HS program lies in its multi-stakeholder and gender-just approach. Rather than simply sharing technology, or training farmers to produce seeds for distribution to other farmers, the program is centered on people’s capacities to organize their own work, learn amongst themselves and from committed experts, create locally adapted crop varieties and engage in changing government policies.

The scope of our program has triggered us to work from different angles. From four interconnected pillars we work towards a fair, sustainable and gender-just global food production system.

What we do

We exchange information between all stakeholders and link local to global and global to local. We realize Farmer Field Schools where traditional and scientific knowledge is combined to create climate-proof farming. We empower the individual and raise our voice in the international debate on agricultural biodiversity.

The SD=HS program tackles unequal and unsustainable aspects of seed and food production systems globally in multiple ways. Read about some of the practical activities that are supported or enabled by the program.

Farmer Field

Schools

SD=HS supports and helps build Farmer Field Schools. The Farmer Field Schools are a tried, tested and proven method of empowering farmers. Local farmers collectively learn to define problems, seek solutions and set targets. With the support of scientists and local extension staff, farmers learn breeding and selection approaches, and in the process they test the seeds of new varieties and to share their observations on these seeds.

Farmer Seed

Enterprises

Farmer Seed Enterprises (FSEs) take the form of seed production and marketing cooperatives. They vary in size, organizational structure and market engagement, ranging from village-based groups to larger-scale commercial companies. The central objective of the FSEs is to provide small farmers in diverse and stressful production areas with well-adapted appropriate varieties of high-quality seeds; to improve the diffusion of farmers’ varieties and to increase availability of plant genetic diversity in wider seed markets.

Community

Seed Banks

Community Seed Banks serve to keep seeds available for local communities from one planting season to the next, or even over several growing seasons. SD=HS helps set up Seed banks that maintain diversity for crop improvement and may serve as strategic reserves for farmers during times of disaster. At Seed Fairs, farmers come together to show and exchange crops and their seeds. Fairs are ideal platforms for sharing knowledge and experiences on crop diversity, seed management and creating better farming systems.

Women's

Empowerment

Men and women play different roles in food production and seed management. To effectively improve food security, seed security and farmers’ livelihoods, SD=HS recognizes these different roles and discusses an optimal, fair, and equitable division of labor, decision-making, and access to plant genetic resources. The program helps empower women to reclaim their role in providing food security through strengthening their capacity in crop management and nutrition as well as in global policy engagement.

Policy

Engagement

Strengthening farmer-managed seed systems requires conducive policies in order for these systems to be sustainable. SD=HS promotes policy engagement from local to national, regional and global levels. The key objective is farmers’ empowerment, whereby local communities’ awareness of seed policies is increased and their capacity to engage in and influence local to global food, agriculture, and climate change policies is reinforced. SD=HS connects farmers to high-level global stakeholders and influences relevant national, regional and global policy-making processes.

Where we work

SD=HS influences global and international food systems and policies to make local smallholder farmers flourish and stimulate food security for the world to benefit. Local strength and knowledge of indigenous peoples and smallholder farmers is bolstered by and assessed through scientifically robust frameworks, methodologies and tools.

Alongside our work in contexts of international and global conferences, we support projects empowering smallholder farmers in Peru, Zimbabwe, Lao P.D.R., Vietnam and Myanmar.