The Soils, Food and Healthy Communities project is a participatory, farmer-led organization which uses agroecological methods to improve food security and nutrition in Malawi.
Our initial focus was legume diversification as a means to improve food security, soil fertility and child nutrition, but we have since expanded to incorporate an agroecological approach more broadly, including agroforestry, mulching and animal manure use. We have shown improvements in child nutrition, food security and soil management for smallholder farming families, and have many peer-reviewed scientific publications about our work. We use a participatory research model – farmers do their own experiments, and teach other farmers about their findings. In keeping with the concept of food sovereignty, we take seriously the social and cultural milieu within which they live, adjusting our educational approaches and strategies accordingly. Our goal is to support rural Malawians in building sustainable, healthy, equitable, resilient communities, using farmer-led, participatory research, ecological approaches to farming, local indigenous knowledge and democratic processes, while addressing economic, health and social inequalities at the household, community and national levels in Malawi.