Pathways Communication Grants
Bioleft: open-source seeds
Scientific Lead: Almendra Cremaschi
About the Project
Bioleft is an ongoing community lab that seeks to co-design and experiment with social and technological innovations to open new pathways to more sustainable seed systems. It is building an open seed exchange and breeding network that generates a greater availability of biodiverse and resilient seeds, considered as a common. Based on collective intelligence, open knowledge, agreements and solidarity, Bioleft link local and scientific knowledge, technologies and stakeholders with originally contested objectives to challenge the dominant narratives of the Green Revolution and create new, more diverse and just ones. Starting in 2016, Bioleft have worked in three robust innovative areas, that have co-evolved and strengthening each other. First, inspired by the open-source movement, legal licenses were implemented to transfer seed material that remains open to research, development and register of new varieties. They include a viral clause: the improvements derived from Bioleft material will also be Bioleft, that is, open. Second, a digital community platform was developed to record and map the varieties of seeds exchanged, but also to make visible and connect farmers and breeders relegated by dominant systems, their seeds, practices and needs. Third, Bioleft is co-designed through participatory and horizontal processes and methodologies, enriched by a great diversity of participants. As a result of these process Bioleft have been supporting Participatory Plant Breeding experiments, where diverse actors could find potential affinities to address sustainability challenges in their agricultural practices. Bioleft is based at the National University of San Martín, Argentina, and works in coalition with several local, regional, and global organizations. Their activities are supported by The Conservation Food and Health and the Pathways Initiative Communication Grants.
The podcast series will share experiences, visions, knowledge, and struggles related to seed access from farmers, farmer-breeders, independent breeders, public-sector breeders, and consumers. The podcasts are for anyone interested in agriculture, breeding, seeds, rural life, and also the food we eat. They will contribute to raising the voice of those marginalized by the dominant seed system and will be an instrument of connection, empowerment, and advocacy. The series will build a new, more sustainable, and diverse narrative of which, who, how and why seeds are and should be improved. An initial series of four episodes (15-20 mins each) in Spanish is planned.
Online Visualization Tool
A collaborative and dynamic online visualization tool will be developed to make visible not only (groups of) farmers and their practices but also their seeds, products and the knowledge associated with them. The tool will contribute to making visible the needs of farmers relegated by the dominant seed systems and will create collective agency by connecting unattended demands for seeds and knowledge, and the stakeholders that have them, but that are disconnected so far.
Participatory Breeding Handbook
The participatory breeding handbook will be an online open-access publication based on the learnings from the virtual field book and experiences of on-farm experiments. The handbook will serve as a useful tool for farmers as well as research, extension and non-profit programs looking to train farmers as co-researchers for conducting on-farm trials. The collaborative writing process involved in the development of the handbook aims to challenge dominant power tensions by making visible all the knowledge farmers have, as well as the potential of transdisciplinary learning. It will also contribute to a more reflexive approach to the experiments, highlighting the main outcomes and challenges.
Inspire and embark!
Scientific Lead: Claire Dutrait
About the Project
Can trees be our allies for sustainable urbanization in Africa? The AirGeo project (Belmont Forum CRA) creates a community of practice around the use of passive biosensors made of bark to monitor the air we breathe for communities facing rapid urbanization and the direct proximity of iron and lead recycling plants.
Watch the project teaser below
After one year, the results indicate that the use of vegetal media for air monitoring, in combination with artistic collaborations, favorises a productive and efficient co-building of the scientific campaign, leading to citizen empowerment and the emergence of nature-based solutions.
To translate the knowledge co-built in the first part of the project, we design an innovative exhibition "Inspire and Embark" for stakeholders engaged in the project: people living near the plants, associations, and decision-makers.
The exhibition will be combined with the participatory forum AirGeo to facilitate the co-design of nature and science-based solutions for urban mining territories.
Tiny Pop-Up Mobile Museum
The exhibition will take the form of a tiny pop-up mobile museum to travel to the heart of 8 districts of Sebikotane and Diamniadio, communes close to Dakar, the capital of Senegal (sub-Saharan Africa) where the first campaign was implemented in 2022. The exhibition is scheduled for June 2023. It will use vegetation as a narrative thread and focus on art and oral facilitation for the translation of findings. The exhibition will be designed to foster the emergence of everyone's testimonies, leading to the co-design of nature or science-based solutions.
The exhibition is characterised by 3 functions:
POP-UP: easy-to-install, it tells the complexity of the territory’s story by displaying different viewpoints of the scientific sensors, the trees and the inhabitants, to engage in joint attention.
TINY: light and easy-to-move, all materials fit in a trailer and can be moved from one neighborhood to another even with difficult access (unpaved roads and narrow pathways). This enables the participation of citizens that rarely go to mediation and decision-making places (Bishop, 2006).
FORUM: conceived as a convivial, reflexive and engaging space... as under a palaver tree!
The aim of the exhibition is three-fold:
1/ Explain and contextualize scientific investigations carried out in Sebikotane
The exhibits reveal the actions carried out by the researchers and allow them to be heard and seen. They include testimonies from residents about their knowledge of the territory and interviews with community leaders. In the form of podcasts, drawings, photographs, objects and maps, the exhibition reveals the multiplicity of points of view on the territory.
2/ Share and communicate an arts-sciences-society experience using trees as allies
The scenario of the exhibition will depict the alliance between humans and trees to find sustainable pathways in the municipality of Sebikotane. The scenario will be displayed on a large drawn canvas that will support the exhibition hanging. The podcasts will be broadcast in French and in Wolof. Oral transmission will also be carried out by young local students who have been involved as mediators in the project since the beginning.
3/ Engage in transformative changes
Conceived as a meeting point between researchers, inhabitants, associations and decision-makers, the exhibition gives them the opportunity to situate their different point of view with regard to those exposed in the exhibition. A convivial space will be a part of the exhibition, associated with oral facilitation events, facilitated meetings, world-cafés, and forum theatre.
Transformation of coffee landscapes: co-production of pathways for sustainability through participatory serious board games
Scientific Lead: Martha Bonilla Moheno
About the Project
Tropical coffee landscapes constitute rich agroecological matrices of great ecological and cultural value. However, the cumulative effects of socio-environmental crises have transformed these landscapes, affecting the livelihoods of producers and their management practices. Previous research showed that forest cover of coffee landscapes of central Veracruz, Mexico, decreased after the coffee-leaf rust outbreak and was associated with the intensification of management practices and the transition to commercial crops. Additionally, actors involved in landscape transformation were diverse and influenced different stages of the coffee value-chain (i.e., production and commercialization processes). However, producers were differentially affected depending on which association strategy they followed. The communication of these results to relevant actors involved in the coffee sector (producers, government, nonprofits) is crucial to draw attention to the strategies that can sustain change in the region and envision new scenarios for sustainability.
Participatory Serious Board Game
A participatory serious board game will be designed and used to represent the complex interactions between economic and organizational processes occurring at global and national scales (such as the fluctuation of global prices and sectoral policies); the decisions made at local scales (producers and their association strategies); and the impacts at regional scales (i.e., natural disturbances, landscape characteristics) that ultimately affect coffee production, the income of coffee producers families and the ecological integrity of the agroecological matrix.
The game will be implemented in workshops organized mainly with coffee producers from the studied region, including those involved in the research project. However, the coffee sector is represented by a great number of stakeholders and these multiple perspectives will be incorporated to address and communicate the problem.
The game, considered a learning tool, will have a dual purpose: inform participants on these findings; and encourage a discussion and reflection on new pathways for achieving sustainable landscapes and local wellbeing.
At the end of each game session, the experiences and social learning derived from the game will be summarized. Discussion will focus on which practices and values could be fostered to collaboratively produce new scenarios of sustainability for the coffee sector and the region.
A digital brochure will be developed to explain the game and illustrate the scenarios that were co-produced in the workshops.
A video will also be generated to explain the design and implementation of the game, as well as the possibilities of adapting and parameterizing the game to other coffee-growing contexts in Latin America.
Ten Facts about Land Systems for Sustainability
Scientific Lead: Ariane de Bremond
About the Project
The Global Land Programme (GLP) released a peer-reviewed paper in PNAS, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, and an accompanying Report for Policy and Practice intended to communicate beyond the scientific community, identifying "10 Facts" about global land use and detailing opportunities for designing more sustainable and equitable pathways to land, taking the diversity of development goals associated with land use and management.
GLP's theory of change for the policy report is that improved understanding of land systems via the 10 facts can help people from civil society co-designers to global-level decision makers make better decisions on land.
The study is intended to inform policies aimed at addressing challenges like how to limit the impacts of climate change, designing systems for sustainable food and energy production, protecting biodiversity, and balancing competing claims to land ownership. It also details implications for policymakers to consider if they hope to develop economically, culturally, and environmentally sustainable pathways and solutions to these complex challenges.