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7 January 2022

What to watch at ORFC: Staff Picks with Ruth West

ORFC Co-Founder Ruth West shares what she’s looking forward to on the last day of the conference

My three “must watch” sessions for Friday have to be from our global programme – because of our move to an online-only event these are integrated into the whole programme and to my mind greatly enhance what ORFC has to offer.

9am: Tea Farming in Kenya: Integrating Watershed Governance and Agroecological Management Practices
A hugely inspirational session organised by PELUM Kenya, ICE, SACDEP, OACK, RODI Kenya and COSDEP, who describe how they helped tea farmers become empowered not only to improve the quality and quantity of their water supply but to diversify their livelihoods and improve their incomes.

11am: The Case of Mutuca: Promoting a Network of Regeneration with Agroforestry In Amazonia
Anyone who like me feels helpless and full of despair when they see Brazil and the Amazon yet again in the news can take heart learning how members of the São Raimundo do Mutuca riverine community – with the help of national and international actors – have managed to turn things around, using customary knowledge and practices, so that their territory is protected from outside commercial grazing interests.

4pm: Indigenous Approaches to Soil Health and Management
Indigenous knowledge and practices are again to the fore in this session which focuses on something I’ve always found fascinating: how different ways of classifying flora and fauna (and in this case soil) from the accepted orthodox classification are based on indigenous knowledge – and that we have a lot to learn from them.

The session I’m most looking forward to:

This is such a difficult one, but again I’m going to dip into the rich offerings from the global programme. This time to a topic I think is so important to all of us – particularly as intensive industrial farming along with rewilding are threatening to do away with the small/medium-sized mixed farm and small holding. Beware the new land grabbers and carbon cowboys!

2pm What Counts in Deciding who Feeds the World?
So, what is closer to the truth: the evidence pointing to 70-80% of the world being fed by peasants, smallholder farmers, fisherfolk and livestock keepers, that many of us have been drawing on since the publication of Agriculture at a Crossroads, or the 2021 estimates from FAO that in fact the reality is only one third are fed this way? The organisers – ETC Group, GRAIN, LWA – will seek to uncover the motivation behind this new estimate, and to get close to the truth of the matter.

Three of the above sessions will be simultaneously interpreted in French, Spanish and English. Interpretation is kindly provided by COATI.

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Registered delegates can check out the detail of these sessions and the rest of the programme in Whova.

Book tickets to ORFC – they are available throughout the conference.

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