The Bharat Agroecology Fund (BAF) is a grantmaking instrument that is unique in its governance structure and commitment to local leadership. BAF relies on the wisdom and recommendations of advisors who are deeply embedded in their communities, as well as on a diverse group of national and international donors. It lifts up local ingenuity and provides critical resources to local communities and civil society movements (multi-sectoral collaboratives) that lead the scaling-up of agroecology across India. These grassroots efforts are the “secret sauce” of landscape-level transformation.
BAF aspires to support a paradigm shift at the local and national levels in how food is produced and consumed across the country. How?
By understanding the complex inter-relationship between civil society, public and donor initiatives and ensuring that grassroots actors have the necessary resources to move practices and policies forward.
Our vision is to support a tipping point wherein 20% of small and marginal farmers in India – approximately 20 million people – shift towards agroecology-based agriculture ecosystems by 2030. These 20 million farmers have the potential to sequester 27 million tonnes of CO2 per year and reduce emissions from fertilisers and pesticides just as they reduce groundwater pumping and long value chains. This tipping point could transform India’s entire food system – with the accompanying benefits of a stabilised climate.
Our aim is to encourage growing financial commitments to grassroots-led agroecology as a critical solution to climate change, hunger, health crises, and other social and human rights issues.
BAF’s mission is to accelerate the growing momentum for agroecology-based food systems by mobilising, leveraging and allocating resources to support grassroots-led food systems transformation.
‘Innovation’ is at the core of our grantmaking principles. But innovation is often thought of only in terms of new technologies. Those are critical, and we proudly support, for example – accessible digital marketing platforms and the manufacture of bio-inputs. But, critically, we also support innovation in co-creating knowledge, for example, so that small farmers come together with researchers and policymakers to find local solutions to pressing hunger and water crises. We very intentionally fund ‘collaboratives’, in which diverse actors join together for a common cause. We lift up creative organisational methods like farmer-to-farmer extension models. BAF supports the creation of a growing body of evidence by grassroots organisations, which demonstrates the transformative power of agroecology.
These on-the-ground actors, embedded in their own cultures and community institutions, are the ‘secret sauce’ to transform our food systems.
While supporting the grassroots movements to transform food systems and build climate resilience through agroecology, BAF:
with philanthropy & development agencies, both national and international
support for agroecological enterprises
lessons learned with the world
While supporting grassroots movements to transform food systems through agroecology, BAF’s other objectives include:
with international philanthropy & development agencies
lessons learned with the world
Our Theory of Change
Agroecology movements are the primary actors in the BAF’s theory of change.
Mobilising people, presenting action research evidence, establishing new economic food systems, and ensuring agroecology-friendly public policies are the key factors of change. These movements are formed by a broad coalition of organisations working for a common cause, fighting for just and sustainable food systems by opposing the structures, institutions, and vested interests that threaten such systems.
The goal is to tackle systemic barriers to agroecology. Farmers, consumers, scientists, policymakers, and environmentalists engage collectively at the intersection of these movements, where the Agroecology Fund directs its resources.
These localised movements must be supported by implementing sustainable and economically viable agricultural practices, developing alternative models of agriculture and rural development, establishing use regulations for common resources, and, most importantly, rejecting systematic and intentional hurdles to agroecology.