Uttar Pradesh, India
We believe that across the world the small-scale farmers growing around 70% of our world food supply can be the solution to the global food crisis.
Research shows that traditional farming deploying environmentally sustainable ‘agro-ecological’ methods can meet the rapidly growing global demand for food. In the UK and in India we are building partnerships with agricultural centres of excellence that have both knowledge and expertise to carry out high-level sustainable research into the relationships between food and environment. Whilst doing so, we have engaged in a modest research pilot in India, exploring the impact of incorporating honeybees and attracting other pollinators into stressed agricultural landscapes.
In collaboration with the Banwasi Seva Ashram and after consultation with experts from the department of Entomology at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi, we established 19 individual projects that are benefiting over 460 small-scale farming families, and positively impacting around 4600 individuals. Our holistic approach to apiculture training includes honeybee ecology and the role of the environment in bee and pollinator health.
We hope to expand our projects to include expert support for farmers using sustainable ‘agro-ecological’ methods.
We are learning that livelihoods are diverse, complex and dynamic, and understanding this complexity contributes to socially and environmentally responsible decisions. We see that conservation can help achieve the basic human right to food, water, health, culture and an adequate standard of living, and empowering people to realise their rights can provide an enabling environment for meeting conservation objectives.
Our research project shows that by teaching sustainable apiculture to small-scale family farmers in semi-arid areas affected by climate change, it is possible to enhance agricultural yields to provide more income, improve food and nutrition security, enable farmers to raise additional cash through the sale of honey, and create additional livelihood options through apiculture skills. Such outcomes enable families to improve their access to shelter, healthcare and education and improve the wellbeing of women farmers. Women are key players in agriculture but their contributions generally go unrecognised and they lack the same access to resources as men.
Our project is building a cohesive trans-border community of more-confident farmers with a stronger sense of self-identity, taking pride in managing their lands and contributing to their environments. Farmers share experiences of practical learning about pollinators and support each other in pollinator- friendly actions and awareness of what pollinators need to survive and thrive given the challenges of climate change, when the monsoon rains come too late or too early, and temperatures soar beyond 40 degrees Celsius, scorching the fields and making forage scarce for pollinators.
JOIN US! Are you looking for a 6-12 month internship working with schoolchildren? Do you want to create and run field-based citizen science workshops for 5-12 year olds? Would you like to educate and inspire 12-16 year olds to become Biodiversity Champions and Leaders?
If so, write to us!
We also offer PhD. and MPhil. candidates opportunities for researching pollinator, food and environment related themes.