The Democratising Food and Agricultural Research initiative focuses on transformations needed for the democratic governance of food systems and, – more specifically -, on the potential role citizens can play in rethinking food and agricultural research for the public good. Since 2007, this initiative has unfolded in the Andean Altiplano (Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru), South Asia (Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka), West Africa (Burkina Faso, Benin, Mali, Senegal), and West Asia (Iran, Jordan). In September 2013, the partners of this initiative organized an international workshop to share lessons and reflections from Africa, Asia and Latin America with a wider community of European farmers, policy makers, and representatives of the donor community (see Workshop program).
Known as the St. Ulrich Workshop on Democratising Agricultural Research for Food Sovereignty and Peasant Agrarian Cultures, this international workshop brought together 95 participants from a total of 17 countries. Over 55% of workshop participants were farmers and the other participants were activists, progressive scholars and representatives of local government, donor organisations (SDC), the FAO, and the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR). About half the participants were women.
The St Ulrich workshop was preceded by 4 days of farmer exchanges for mutual learning on farms and alternative food networks run by German farmers and activists in SW-Germany, on 18th to 21st September 2013. Participants from India, Nepal, Iran, Benin, Mali, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia were able to visit and interact with the Black Forest Farmer Forum, the Lake Constance Rural Movement, Farmer Markets and an alternative farm property and farming model near Freiburg.
The video film – Imagining Research for Food Sovereignty – highlights the outcomes of the farmer exchanges and the St Ulrich workshop deliberations.