Fair World Project Launches Grow Ahead Crowdfunding Platform to Facilitate Direct Lending and More for Small-scale Farmers

Published: May 3, 2017 

Leading fair trade advocacy organization, Fair World Project (FWP), has announced the launch of Grow Ahead, a crowdfunding platform to facilitate direct lending, farmer-to-farmer trainings, and scholarships to support farmer-led agroecology projects throughout the Global South. Individual consumers can forge an intimate link with frontline farmer organizations, directly fund farmer initiatives, and support the global effort to address climate change on the farm.

“Small-scale farmer organizations in the developing world are historically under-resourced, with limited access to the capital needed to grow their organizations beyond their day-to-day needs. Most development funding for agriculture is focused on industrial and chemical-dependent practices, often through a single company’s supply chain, or as part of an initiative focused on a single technology. Grow Ahead intends to bridge the resource and funding gap, acting as a launch pad for larger, regional agroecological development campaigns that focus on whole farm systems, not solely on individual commodities,” states Fair World Project Executive Director Dana Geffner.

In 2015, Fair World Project (FWP) collaborated with the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Fair Trade Small Producers (CLAC) in a contest soliciting small-scale farmer groups to share their experiences and best practices in confronting climate change in their communities. Farmer submissions demonstrated impressive steps to adjust to the growing challenge of climate change, by diversifying farms, promoting on-farm innovation, and improving soil fertility, among other practices. To read more about this project, https://clac-comerciojusto.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/climate-change-latin-america.pdf

“These agroecological strategies for combating climate change and feeding hungry communities, such as use of cover-crops and compost to sequester carbon and boost soil fertility and organic matter, must be a global priority, scaling up and out in coming years. Small-scale farmer organizations have the potential to quickly and effectively implement cost-effective climate-resilient tactics, while simultaneously generating a multiplier effect, expanding their experience and organizational impact,” states Grow Ahead Director Ryan Zinn.

Despite the serious threat that climate change poses to humanity in general, and to small-scale farmers in particular, proven solutions like small-scale regenerative agriculture that have a long track record of success. However, these regenerative methods proven to mitigate climate change receive little government or market support and safeguards.