One Human Family: Eliminating Hunger & Promoting Sustainable Farming with Gender Equity
Women’s equity and food insecurity are indelibly linked. Women are vulnerable on all dimensions of food security: availability, access, utilization and stability. Food insecurity is an issue of women’s equity. Studies have shown that globally women eat least and they eat last.
Fortunately, there is enough food in the world today for everyone to have the nourishment they need for a healthy and productive life. A key factor in addressing the world's food security challenges is improving the availability, access, and utilization of food across global communities.
WFI's three templates for change outlined below amplify the world’s ability to solve these challenges and produce results for the immediate and long-term.
All of Us Taking Care of All of Us: Spreading a Food Rescue Model and New Paradigm of Philanthropy
WFI is supporting through our partnership with the California-based non-profit White Pony Express (WPE) a template for food rescue based on a new social paradigm of philanthropy: "All of us taking care of all of us."
Our partnership with White Pony Express has resulted in the expansion of an award-winning food rescue and redistribution program ‘Circle of Giving’ whose model has spread throughout California, South Carolina, and with the support of WFI, to Mexico and soon Kenya!
Because of WFI, the graduate students of Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley have participated in capacity building for this food rescue template that has, since 2013, delivered 18 million pounds of fresh food and served 120,000 people in Contra Costa County, California.
Now, through WFI's partnering WPE with the Association of Vegan Entrepreneurs in Mexico (EVM), the model will be taken to Monterrey, Mexico. WPE, in turn, will take the Mexican model initiated by EVM called Mesa Redonda program to California! Mesa Redonda enables customers in affiliated local restaurants to purchase an additional meal to be delivered to those in need across the region. The program has a particular focus on helping those from marginalized groups such as survivors of gender-based violence, single mothers, LGBTQ, and indigenous community members. This summer, WFI is supporting a site visit from our Mexico team to pilot the "Round Table" model at a local restaurant here in the Bay Area, with the goal of spreading and scaling the model to restaurants throughout the California and beyond.
Next Stop: Kenya
Women Forward International will partner the White Pony Express with a local university team in Kenya and YODinternational provide the structural support necessary for Women Farmers and urban Micro-farmers to succeed in reducing food insecurity and achieving success in entrepreneurship. A volunteer-powered joint-venture brings expertise together to help reduce food insecurity and extreme poverty in Africa's rising country, Kenya. Having served over 400,000 people with meals, the tri-group seeks to make a positive impact in food security at a time where the Russian-Ukraine War has interrupted the import of grains and other food staples.
The Kenya Fresh Box Delivery program will enable the Women Farmers to:
1.) produce more robust harvest with upgrades in agricultural equipment
2) effectively market the harvest in the form of Fresh Box Delivery to middle class families in Nairobi
3) expand farming to larger acreage available which will support more women workers
4.) reduce food insecurity and foster a successful entrepreneurial venture that empowers Women Farmers in Kenya
The Kenya Food reclamation program will enable families living in the slums to:
1) have a source of food with nutritional value
2) support brain and physical development of children and youth
3) relieve the stress of food insecurity where income is less than $1.90/day
4) make use of otherwise wasted food at Nairobi's local restaurants
The project will impact over 40 families initially, with the possibility of expanding to 350 families when the program can utilize more land to increase crops. Each family has approximately four children, impacting 1500 lives with food security while providing income for 125 Women Farmers. Additionally, extra farm hands at harvest as well as packagers, box makers, and the delivery service workers increase the impact by 200. Moreover, the delivery of fresh produce adds nutritional value to families who receive the Fresh Box Deliveries, making total overall impact as high as 5000 lives.
The impact for the Food reclamation program has a potential impact of helping 10,000 families reduce food insecurity.
Roots of Peace
in Ukraine and Afghanistan
Together with a California-based university, WFI will support a focus by Roots of Peace on women farmers and their broader communities in Ukraine and Afghanistan as they de-mine these areas.
Roots of Peace supports the world's most vulnerable farmers and traders, removing the remnants of war and restoring agricultural productivity and prosperity. By improving farm techniques, addressing supply chain gaps, and supporting local exporters in reaching high-value markets, Roots of Peace improves livelihoods and contributes to building peace in war-torn lands.
Roots of Peace works with farmers and local communities to remove the remnants of war, then identifies the agricultural challenges hindering the ability of client beneficiaries to achieve maximum income potential. They make sure exporters have the tools and training to meet the demands of discerning overseas markets, then link them with buyers in those markets, thereby generating greater revenue for exporters and the farmers they serve. By repairing gaps in the agricultural value chain, Roots of Peace helps their clients achieve greater economic independence, a fundamental requirement for peace.
Sustainable Farming with
Sustainable farming practices are spreading around the world at a rapid pace, but, as of yet, little is being done to ensure women farmers, who comprise a significant labor force in agriculture worldwide, are fairly compensated and receive equal opportunities. Currently, an untold amount of women's labor goes unpaid, and labor rights are geared towards the needs of male farmers.
WFI will continue its collaboration with Sustainable Food Alliance (SFA), Cornell University, the Organic Association of Kentucky, and the University of Louisville to develop a whole farm sustainability assessment that includes a model for ensuring gender equity across all indicators and practices.
The assessment will feature environmental and social sustainability, with a strong focus on social equity, in particular women’s empowerment, building on the research previously undertaken by a team of graduates from Cornell University in Malawi looking at strengthening these indicators.
This project will feed into the Global Farm Metric initiative aiming to develop an internationally common framework for measuring on-farm sustainability. The goal is for the Global Farm Metric to be developed to allow it to be adopted by farmers, food companies, investors and governments allowing us to measure & monitor the impact of agriculture in a common way, ultimately driving progress towards more regenerative and equitable food and farming systems.
The data provided by farms that use the Global Farm Metric will be tremendously crucial in 1) shaping environmental, socioeconomic, and agricultural policy 2) creating a baseline of on-farm data that can be aggregated to track change and 3) mapping onto and setting a benchmark against the UN Sustainable Development Goals, at the local, national, and international levels. The GFM is supportive of 16 of the 17 SDGs.
Advancing Equity for Women Farmers in the
Coffee & Cocoa Sector
Most of the coffee and cocoa around the world is grown on smallholder farms. Nearly half of the labor on these farms is done by women, whose efforts go widely unrecognized. Their work is systematically under-resourced, and their voices left out of the conversations that most impact them, their families, and their futures.
Leading coffee and cocoa companies and development organizations have for decades invested in the economic, environmental, and social sustainability of smallholder farming communities, yet more attention must be given to whether investments have improved the invisible role played by women in these communities. At present, women lack access to essential technical training, financial literacy, capital, and other assets needed to maximize their productive capacity and ensure their livelihoods. These deficiencies, combined with the social norms that exacerbate inequalities between men and women, undermine the supply chain and erode farm resiliency and success, making women and their families even more vulnerable in times of crises such as global temperature increase and the COVID-19 pandemic.
WFI will expand its collaboration with Equal Origins and Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs to conduct research and advise program design for the development of the Gender Equity Index within the cocoa and coffee supply chains.
This Program addresses these issues to drive scalable impact in the coffee and cocoa supply chains through the development and implementation of a Gender Equity Index (GEI). The GEI will motivate extension and advisory service (EAS) providers in the coffee and cocoa sectors to embed gender transformative practices into their operations and programs. The GEI will work in service of key supply chain actors, improving resilience for millions of farming women and their families, increasing accountability and return on investment for businesses, and strengthening the sustainability of the sector overall.