Agroecology Learning Exchange – Uganda

The Agroecology Fund (AEF) and the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) convened the Agroecology Learning Exchange in Uganda from May 10-13, 2016. About 90 people from six continents met for four days on an organic farm and agroecological training centre near Massaka, in central Uganda.

The Agroecology Learning Exchange was designed as a playful and stimulating participatory process. The first objective was to share lessons on what we are all doing to promote agroecology in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe. The second aim of this Learning Exchange was to identify better ways of amplifying agroecological solutions across the world. Meeting in person enabled a free exchange through which to explore synergies that can help strengthen agroecology as a science, movement and a practice.

The exchange was initiated by the AEF, a progressive consortium of trusts and foundations aiming to increase the volume and long-term effectiveness of agroecological solutions which mitigate the negative effects of climate change through research, advocacy, and movement-building. The AEF initiated the exchange to deepen understanding of the current and future contributions to amplifying agroecology through direct exchange between beneficiaries, an innovate and novel approach to funding that was widely appreciated by participatory.

The Learning Exchange was facilitated by Janneke Bruil and Jessica Milgroom from ILEIA. They both created lots of space for participants to define discussion topics, reflect in small groups and plenary sessions, participate, debate, and learn from each other. Interactive sessions such as poster making enabled participants to communicate their story diagrammatically, and a theatrical session made for a hilarious and bonding exchange of ‘Theories of Change’. Days were full – from the early morning mysticas to the intense focus discussions, onto the farm visits, and ending in late night conversations helped with a few beers.

Many ideas were generated on topics specifically proposed for discussion by participants. Topics ranged from ‘Agroecology Schools’ and ‘Strengthening grassroots farmer organisations’ to ‘Policy advocacy for agroecology’ and ‘Funding agroecology’, and more. For each of the topics discussed, the key ideas and conclusions on what ‘works well and when’ are summarized in this PDF – Agroecology Works Well When…

The full reports of this meeting are being compiled and the outcomes will be published in the coming weeks. In the meantime you can follow the twitter hashtag #Agroecologyvoices to read the photo diaries of participants compiled by Rucha Chitnis.

At the end of the week, we felt energized and inspired by all the amazing work participants are engaged in across the globe. This was of course a modest contribution to change, a step in a longer journey….. But we all felt that the exchange added strength and solidarity to a growing agroecology movement.