The United Nations has declared 2014 to be the International Year of Family Farming. The objective is to focus the world’s attention on small-scale family agriculture, showing how it can make a fundamental contribution to eradicating hunger and poverty, guaranteeing food security for the whole world and preserving natural resources.

Small-scale farmers are at the cutting edge of sustainable agriculture. In an age of growing costs and volatile prices for oil, agricultural inputs and food, not to mention the unpredictably nature of climate change and environmental degradation, small-scale farmers following agroecological practices represent the most functional form of agriculture. They can feed the world and reduce ecological and economic pressure.

Family farmers and small farms are the key to food security. They are more productive and preserve resources better than big monocultures. They are models of sustainability and sanctuaries for biodiversity. Not least, they contribute to mitigating climate change.

The thousands of food communities in the Terra Madre network are the face of family farming. They represent the model for development we want to see, development inextricably tied to the environmental health of the planet and the economic survival of local communities.

Read more about the issues being explored during the International Year of Family Farming: