This is what international solidarity looks like

February 7, 2020

This International Development Week, we celebrate partnerships, innovative farmers, and seeds!

Deisy Gloria Delcid, Honduras

Happy International Development Week! This is a week to celebrate everything that you do, and that Canada does, to help grow a better world across borders.

With support from folks across the country, and from the Government of Canada, SeedChange works in many ways to build international solidarity. Below are just a few!

Partnerships that foster innovation

Frederico Montaño and Asunta Hinojosa (Bolivia) and Michelle Carkner and Ian Grossart (Canada)

At SeedChange, we live out our values of global solidarity everyday through partnerships. Why are partnerships important? Because we’re not going to solve the biggest issues of our time alone!

We foster partnerships between farmers like Asunta Hinojosa in Bolivia, and Frederico Montaño, an agricultural trainer from our Bolivian partner organisation, PRODII. Together, Asunta and Frederico work to improve her harvests by saving better seeds and building on her knowledge of ecological farming practices.

We also foster partnerships here at home between farmers like Ian Grossart from Manitoba, and Michelle Carkner, a research associate with the University of Manitoba. Michelle and Ian work together, with other Canadian farmers, to breed new organic varieties of wheat, oat, potato and corn that are better suited to their farms.

The best thing about these partnerships? They build each other up! Asunta and Frederico in Bolivia are working in a different context than Michelle and Ian in Canada, but they’re tackling similar problems. By making the connection, we help these partnerships learn from each other.

The result: more innovation.

Breeding crops for climate resilience

Farmer Annie Richard (Canada) and Deisy Gloria Delcid (Honduras)

We also work in global solidarity by connecting farmers together over solutions, and helping them learn from each other not only within their community, but also across communities and around the globe.

For example, Annie Richard, who participates in our Bauta program in Ontario, and Deisy Gloria Delcid, who works with our partner FIPAH in Honduras, are both breeding seeds on their farms that grow well in a changing climate and that deliver food their communities want to eat.

Annie and Deisy haven’t met, but they’re connected through SeedChange. We help knowledge, innovation and solutions flow across borders. Just as importantly, we’re here to connect YOU to Annie and Deisy so you can power their movement!

This kind of solidarity is good for farmers and their communities. It’s also so important for seeds.

Conserving biodiversity for our food security

Sitan Diarra (Mali) and Kathy Rothermel (Canada)

That’s right. Seeds seem small but their impact is huge. Seed diversity is our food’s gene bank. The less diversity we have, the more our food supply is vulnerable to pests, disease, and weather. Nobody wants that!

But seed diversity is disappearing at an alarming rate.

Global South farmers and seed savers have been the staunchest protectors of seed diversity, with women and Indigenous Peoples leading the way. We’ve been honoured to work with them to keep seed diversity alive since the 1980s. In 2012, we took the lessons we learned internationally and started a network of partners here at home to also support Canadian farmers and seed savers.

International solidarity is communities working together to support each other and grow a better world.

Today, there are 35,000 farmers in our programs saving (and rebuilding!) seed biodiversity, and working to spread agricultural practices that make justice, health and sustainability a reality. You make that possible!