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.
Black Lives Matter:
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Martin Luther King Jr.
SFHC would like to take this moment to say that we stand with the Black Lives Matter Movement. The world needs to take time to listen to black people as they work to better their communities and protect themselves from violence at the hands of the police. As agroecology focuses on interconnectedness between agriculture and the environment the Black Lives Matter Movement focuses on the interconnected impact of systemic racism and policing.
After putting all nonessential in-person work on hiatus from April 7, we will be maintaining contact with farmer volunteers and staff to assess the food security status of our communities. We are relieved to have witnessed that the rains have been very good this year, making immediate food shortages unlikely.
However, we are very concerned about the long-term food security and nutrition of Malawian farmers in the aftermath of COVID-19. Public health infrastructure in the country is dangerously limited, and long-distance commutes, lack of connectivity and education make our communities especially vulnerable to this crisis. A weakened economy exacerbates current poverty and inequality. If you have the resources, please consider donating to organizations working to support East African health systems in fighting the Coronavirus, such as the internationally recognized Doctors Without Borders (MSF):
In addition to immediate medical support, the need for building long-term food security, nutrition, gender equality, sustainable lands and resilient communities has never been greater. We do not know the timeline of this virus. We hope to be able to continue our work as soon as social interactions are safe, but in the mean time we are working on innovative ways to continue supporting farmers for the long haul. Please consider supporting our work.
Working with over 6,000 smallholder farming households in Malawi, SFHC supports Malawians in building sustainable, healthy, equitable, and resilient communities. Our participatory research model depends on farmer-led experimentation with a wide range of agroecological farming techniques, such as legume intensification, composting, mulching, and botanical pesticides. We support the revitalization of indigenous crops such as sorghum and finger millet, while affirming indigenous knowledge and facilitating farmer-to-farmer knowledge exchange. 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.
SFHC believes healthy communities are equitable communities. We seek to address environmental, economic, health, and social issues at the household, community and national levels in Malawi. We conduct workshops on gender equity and actively engage HIV/AIDS-affected households in our communities. We ensure the democratic election of village representation while maintaining gender parity. This work has helped us create a participatory integrated curriculum, which combines lessons in agroecology, climate change, nutrition and social equity. The curriculum is available for download here.
We have published results demonstrating improvements in child nutrition, food security and soil fertility for smallholder farming families in many peer-reviewed scientific journals, and we partner with several international institutions to tackle difficult research questions. Our latest project investigates the impact of agroecological adoption on landscapes and wild biodiversity, exploring the influence of pollinators, pests, and beneficial insects in a changing climate.
Visit our projects page, read about our research, and download our curriculum to learn more.