AgroEcology Fund (AEF)

Identity card

The AgroEcology Fund supports grassroots food and farming systems that build on existing local and traditional culture and knowledge, incorporate scientific advances, and challenge the institutions that drive industrial agriculture and corporate concentration in the food system. The AgroEcology Fund was created to offer a model of grant making and learning through which foundations can achieve more together than they can separately. The AgroEcology Fund consolidates philanthropic resources, strengthens grantee networks, and enables organizations to share technical and advocacy expertise. The AgroEcology Fund works closely with other funder collaboratives to advance learning on agroecological solutions, such as the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, the European Funders of Sustainable Agriculture and Food and the EDGE Funders Alliance.

Today, there are unprecedented opportunities to advance agroecology globally. Agroecology is recognized as both a mitigation and adaptation strategy for climate change. There is a growing recognition of the symbiosis between conservation and agriculture. Conservationists increasingly perceive the importance of guaranteeing small farmers’ land tenure so that they can be effective ecological stewards and guardians of biodiversity. Consumers/eaters are increasingly demanding healthier food and a closer connection to food producers. Social movements around the globe – many with significant leadership by women’s and indigenous organizations – are coalescing in campaigns for a healthy food system built on an environmental and human rights ethos. Worldwide, scientists, grassroots organizations, NGOs, consumers, universities, and public agencies are working with farmers to construct sustainable, just and nutritious food systems based in agroecology. The demand for agroecology is rising.

The AgroEcology Fund is a multi-donor fund supporting agroecological practices and policies, administered by the New Venture Fund. The Fund aims to support viable food systems, promote the economic well-being of small farmers and their communities, and mitigate climate change through low input agriculture featuring sustainable land and water use. The AgroEcology Fund encourages collaboration locally, regionally and globally among organizations to achieve greater scale and impact in advancing agroecological solutions. With the guidance of an informed, on-the-ground advisory board (the full list can be found here: www.agroecologyfund.org/leadership-and-allies/), the Fund supports effective practitioners, researchers and advocates of agroecology across the world.

Objectives

1) Shift and Leverage Significant Financial Resources Towards Agroecology

  • Double the AgroEcology Fund’s (AEF) annual grantmaking pool to $2 million in five years;

  • Influence private foundation funding (not including AEF grants) to shift $10 million toward AE efforts in five years;

  • Influence large-scale funding from public sector budgets, leveraging a significant shift of resources (tens of millions of US dollars) toward agroecology in five years.

  • Develop and implement a plan for AEF to promote mechanisms for leveraging foundation and private sector resources toward agroecology, including impact investing, enterprise loans, etc.

2) Strengthen Political and Economic Systems to Enable Agroecology to Thrive

  • Fund grassroots collaboratives that are influencing national policies to support new economy food systems and shift support away from industrial agriculture;

  • Fund a campaign to halt and redirect a major financier of industrial agriculture;

  • Develop and implement a strategy to direct bi- and multi-lateral development agencies’ investments toward agroecology;

  • Design and implement a strategy to influence private foundations and large NGO’s to desist from funding industrial agriculture and redirect resources toward agroecology.

3) Influence the Global Conversation about Solutions to Global Hunger by Amplifying Agroecological Solutions

  • Extend grants that support and strengthen the communications capacity of grantees to reach and move their targeted constituencies;

  • Amplify messages and stories gathered from, and co-created with, AEF’s grantee partners and allies, featuring focus on science, practice, rights and policy changes;

  • Use AEF’s growing communications capacity and expertise to place messages and stories from around the world in highly visible, strategic outlets in order to inform and advocate for exemplary agroecological practices and policies;

  • Help shift the dominant narrative about food and hunger, craft and implement a comprehensive communications plan to be a powerful voice in the philanthropy community that provides evidence and inspiration about the viability of agroecological food systems while exposing threats posed by corporate concentration and industrial systems.

4) Co-Create and Share AE Knowledge and Practice

  • Map actors with whom AEF can collaborate in ongoing relationship to fortify co-creation and amplification of knowledge about agroecology;

  • Implement a monitoring, evaluation and learning system that analyzes learnings about agroecological amplification from grantee partners and broadly disseminates key lessons to influence fields of development, philanthropy and public policy;

  • Make grants to advance collaborative learning and knowledge sharing among farmers and allies, with focus on integrating practice, science, and policy shifts;

  • Convene an international learning and knowledge exchange in 2019 among grantees, advisors, donors and allies and disseminate conclusions and recommendations broadly.

Related programmes

Modes of action

  • legal and citizen watch, diffusion of information
  • meetings, exchanges, assemblies
  • research, analysis
  • advocacy, lobbying, influence strategy
  • mobilization, rally
  • networking of actors
  • media actions: pamphlet, opinion paper, campaign
  • diffusion of best pratices creation of labels

Target audience

  • farmers, farmers’ unions
  • youth
  • women
  • organised civil society
  • foundations, donors

Thematic areas

  • agriculture and food
  • commons
  • environment
  • democracy
  • economy
  • local territory management
  • information
  • ethics
  • woman & gender
  • research and technological innovation
  • migration
  • responsibility
  • peace
  • research and social innovation
  • culture