TerraCircle’s primary focus is community food security and nutritional health.
- community food security assessment
- training in small-scale agriculture for improved subsistence gardening and small-scale cash cropping
- training in community seed saving, the establishment of seed banks and regional seed exchange networks
- training and assistance in the restoration of village food and seed production/ distribution systems following a disruption.
We define community food security as access to a diverse, year-round supply of nutritional foods.
The food security of a community is enhanced when most of its food supply is produced locally.
TerraCircle’s approach to food security encompasses:
- farming systems that are affordable, and sustainable within the limitations imposed by local resource availability and that combine the best of traditional farming and modern knowledge
- farmer involvement in the production, processing and distribution of planting material, such as seed
- the maintenance of fertility in farmland soils and the rehabilitation of degraded soils
- the sustainability of non-farming sources of food, such as fishing
- food production for sale at local markets
- the availability of foods at village markets and trade stores.
Food – the basis of future development
For cash-poor communities, a secure food supply is the basis of all future community development.
A locally-produced, reliable, nutritionally balanced supply of food supports the nutritional health of a community. Without good health, individuals are unlikely to be able to contribute much to the development of their village or people.
Securing the food supply against disruption
In many parts of the world, the last decade has been one of political and social disruption. For many people, the world is an increasingly insecure place.
In these circumstances, the challenge for communities is to maintain their cohesion in the face of disruption. The security of the food supply is of prime importance and is boosted where local or regional seed banks and exchange networks exist (eg Planting Material Network). The local production of staple foods:
- reduces vulnerability to natural and civil disturbance or military conflict
- assists rural communities cope with a sudden influx of refugees
- reduce the impact of disruption to medical services where productive home gardens and local markets support a nutritionally mixed diet and a high standard of personal health.