Pathways Communication Grants

Project Showcase

2023

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.

Contact: info@bioleft.org

Communication Product(s)

Podcast Series

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.

Communication Product(s)

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.

Communication Product(s)

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.

Digital Brochure

A digital brochure will be developed to explain the game and illustrate the scenarios that were co-produced in the workshops.

Video

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.

2022

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.

Communication Product(s)

Website, Paper, Report

‘Ten facts about land systems’ is the product of an international collaboration by 50 land system scientists from 20 countries, exploring a wide range of land use impacts, interactions and challenges. The paper is supported by an engaging website encouraging the ‘wise use’ of global land, and an attractively produced report for practitioners and policy makers.

Fair Food Futures: Engaging civil society in transforming food systems and localising the Sustainable Development Goals

Scientific Lead: Kiah Smith

About the Project

'Zero Hunger' requires radical solutions that emphasise 'food justice' - reducing inequality by ensuring equitable access to fairly produced, ecologically sustainable and healthy food. This project will translate findings on Fair Food Futures in Australia, where grassroots food system actors - such as urban gardeners, farmer cooperatives, food charities and 'fair food' advocates - have co-created scenarios for community-led food system reform and the possible pathways to get us there. The project will deliver an animation and podcast series exploring the connections between food justice and the global SDG agenda and will support civil society and policy makers to craft sustainability pathways together.

Communication Product(s)

Animated Video

Localising the SDGs through food justice in Australia will require major changes to food governance across multiple levels in the food system. For example, while food production within ecological boundaries will be actioned locally, this will be supported by wider shifts in agricultural policy, trade policy and land use planning at state and federal levels. Addressing equitable food access hand-in-hand with poverty reduction, gender equity, improved health and wellbeing, quality education, affordable and clean energy likewise require government policy coherence and commitment to collaborative action. Ensuring the meaningful participation of civil society in food system decision making requires innovative approaches to be developed at all levels, and for stronger support through financing, education and improved accountability mechanisms. Many of these changes are highlighted within our fair food futures scenarios and pathways for action.

Podcast

The Fair Food Futures podcast explores the stories and visions for change put forth by community food networks in Australia as they seek to progress transformations towards sustainable food futures, and identifies the strategies, challenges and opportunities for making civil society’s visions for fair food futures come to life. Our main questions were: what does it mean to do ‘food justice’ in Australia? What does your fair food future look like, and how do we get there? With these questions in mind, we listened to stories from leaders of grassroots food organisations, community workers, farmers, First Nations communities, activists, consumers, academics and global policy makers. By bringing these voices together, the Fair Food Futures podcast aims to create a space for dialogue and alliance building between members of civic food networks in Australia, and contribute to ongoing conversations about the opportunities and challenges for policy change.

The backstage of transformations: a case of envisioning small-scale fisheries futures in a Global South context

Scientific Lead: Ignacio Gianelli

About the Project

The project “Fishing Transformations” (“Pescando Transformaciones” in Spanish) aims to co-create a transformative space by identifying and bringing together several innovative initiatives in small-scale fisheries in Uruguay and thus promoting the exchange of experiences, knowledge, and visions of the future. The co-creation of visions is a key element that serves as a collective objective in this project, driving actions in the present to move towards the desired future. To this end, the project involves various disciplines (Art, Transition Design, Sustainability Science) and socieal actors (Fishers, Gastronomes, Environmental Entrepreneurs, Researchers, Technicians) to promote collective learning, agency, creativity, and empowerment through diverse and plural approaches.

Fishing Transformations also seeks to be a platform for disseminating existing positive changes in local small-scale fisheries through the production and diffusion of communication pieces for broad audiences and interventions to promote small-scale fishing, its products, and its potential in the local gastronomy. In academic terms, the project seeks to empirically analyze the transformative potential of a coalescence process of innovative initiatives related to small-scale fisheries. This process aims to articulate new narratives and visions of the future towards more sustainable trajectories and thus challenge dominant narratives prone to sustaining the status quo and/or reproducing unsustainable practices.

Communication Product(s)

Documentary Film

Small-scale fisheries are at a crossroads: local blue food is more important than ever, but fishers are struggling to sustain their livelihoods and culture. Multiple actors are collaboratively envisaging potential local solutions and articulating sustainability initiatives to overcome this challenge. The film will document a coalescence process of sustainability initiatives aimed at fostering a transformation of small-scale fisheries in Uruguay, South America. The film will help amplify the individual and collective impact of the initiatives by providing co-produced visions of the future, a conjunction of multiple and diverse values, contexts and place-based experiences to fuel new narratives of change.