In the Internet era we live in we are constantly bombarded with way more information than we can absorb. We are in an era where we skim thousands of articles a month, spending an average time of only 15 seconds on each link we open (don’t believe us? read this, but later – we don´t want to lose you just yet!).
This is an era of competition for attention, competition for transmitting as much as possible with as few words as possible. It is a competition to get YOU, the reader, the researcher, the potential agripreneur, the consumer, the funder.
Stay with us for the next few seconds and we’ll walk you through how we plan to share the stories of hundreds of young agripreneurs around the world, in a way that will leave nobody indifferent!
Picture this, you’re seated in a couch and you’re sipping your morning tea or coffee. On your lap is a beautiful book with big pictures featuring youth involved in farming and the agriculture sector from around the world and accompanied by short stories about these youth and their dreams, challenges, accomplishments, struggles, ambitions, and daily life. Wouldn’t this be a great way to learn about farming, where your food comes from and hear stories from around the globe?
We strive to share young agripreneurs’ stories from different corners of the world. We will do this with an inspiring picture accompanied by a brief and poignant paragraph of their story, wherever they are in their journey to establish and grow their agricultural enterprise. After all, don’t they say a picture is worth 1000 words?
We want to portray a snapshot of their lives, something that they want to have shared with the wider world. With this collection of micro-stories we want to show that agriculture is about more than producing food for all of us to eat, it is also a medium through which a plethora of hidden stories, adventures and cultures are interlinked in a fascinating way.
We hope these stories will also spark an interest in more young people toward agriculture, inspire consumers to question what’s behind their food, and have fellow agripreneurs feel they are not alone in their struggles.
Who are “we” and why do we need any of this?
My name is Mariola Acosta and I’m writing on behalf of a group of young agronomists which two years ago founded GAEA, the Global AgroEcology Alliance. We are driven and we are dreamers, and we strive to find ways to innovate for better and fairer food production systems, by and for the youth.
It is for this reason that we want to make this book a reality. One thing is clear: this will be an intimate book. A book where the reader will connect with hundreds of agripreneurs. It will not be a collection of long-case studies of young farmers.
There is already plenty of that out there. We consider it fundamentally important to share these micro-stories, the small things in the everyday lives of young agripreneurs around the world. We want to show the more human side of agriculture and young agripreneurship. These will be raw stories centered on our agripreneurs, #NoTricks #NoFilter
But, do we have a plan or are we still in the dreaming phase?
The dreaming phase for this project will never be over. Didn’t we just say we were dreamers? However, we now have a detailed plan and are focusing on the feasibility and logistics of this book becoming a reality.
We plan to cover a diversity of contexts, aiming at capturing micro-stories of young agripreneurs from Africa, Europe, North America, Latin America, Oceania, and Asia. We will not only collect micro-stories from young farmers but we will also gather stories from agripreneurs throughout different sections of the agricultural value chain (e.g. value added processors, wholesalers and retailers).
The core team will consist of us, a group of eight young agricultural professionals, who are currently based in seven different countries around the globe. These seven countries will also form the core basis for our book and we will reach out to our networks of friends and colleagues and through social media to collect stories from other parts of the world.
In the first year of the project we aim at covering at least 250 micro-stories. We take ethical issues very seriously and will always collect consent from the young agripreneur or, in the case of minors, their parents.
The project will also establish a Facebook and Twitter page where some of the young agripreneurs’ micro-stories will be periodically posted. This will both build interest in the book and also open this project up to all of those who can’t, or do not wish, to buy the book. After all, we don´t aim at making ourselves rich but rather to make these stories available to the widest possible audience.
Wait a second, does this mean that we are not agripreneurs ourselves but only show stories about other agripreneurs? Absolutely not. We consider our work a fundamental part of the productive value chain, by supporting those youth striking out on their own to establish an agricultural enterprise, wherever they are in the world; by motivating and inspiring other youth to become agripreneurs, not only as farmers but throughout the agricultural value chain; and motivating consumers to support young agripreneurs – encouraging them to let their personal values guide their choices as consumers.
On what would we spend the YAP grant?
The YAP grant would cover transport costs to reach the agripreneurs in the rural and urban areas (USD200 * 7Countries = USD1400), translators for the areas where only local languages are spoken (USD200), prototype and promotional copies (900) and printing costs (USD2500).
Our group, and those who share our passion, will volunteer their time, energy and expertise to cover all remaining expenses, such as time spent in interviews, taking photographs, compiling and editing the book and maintaining the social media presence.
Will the YAP grant help being self-sustained and how will we measure success?
The YAP grant will play a crucial role in providing the initial funding to get our project kick-started, but one of the aspects we like the most about this project is its self-sustainability. The benefits from the book will be re-invested in collecting more stories and slowly reaching more areas. The success of our project will be measured by social media statistics of number of visits and comments and by the number of books sold.
We are excited!! Are you? Please leave below your comments and suggestions for improvement, and share this proposal widely! It will help this book of young agripreneurs’ micro-stories become a reality!
Blogpost and picture submitted by Mariola Acosta (Spain) – acfra.mariola[at]gmail.com
Illustration by Ania Madalinksa
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
This post is published as proposal #69 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.
The first selection of the winners will be based on the number of comments, likes and views each proposal gets.
As a reader, you can support this speaker’s entry:
- Leave a comment (question, suggestion,..) on this project in the comment field at the bottom of this page
- Support the post by clicking the “Like” button below (only possible for those with a WordPress.com account)
- Spread this post via your social media channels, using the hashtag: #GCARD3
Have a look at the other “YAP” proposals too!
As a donor, support young agripreneurs and sponsor this unique project. Check out the side column for our current sponsors.
“YAP” is part of the #GCARD3 process, the third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development.