YAP proposal #69: Young Agripreneurs of the World book (Mariola Acosta, Spain)

Picture Collage for YAP

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!

Thank you!

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.


77 thoughts on “YAP proposal #69: Young Agripreneurs of the World book (Mariola Acosta, Spain)

    1. Thanks Anna! We are currently working on inclusion/exclusion criteria that we will use (e.g. micro-stories of people over 40 years old will not be considered), but we have not yet started with the identification of the youth agripreneurs themselves.

  1. I would love to have this book on my table while sipping my morning coffee. It’s a very interesting concept where we can read about youth from all over. You have great ideas, because most of the time the youth is not heard. In this way you the book can spread the word n the world.

  2. I just wrote a comment and then I wanted to post it and they asked me to log in and now it is gone 😦

    So I will try again.

    Hey Mariola,

    I find it an interesting idea. However I still have three questions:
    – What is the link for you between sharing the stories of young agripreneurs and innovation for better and fairer food production systems? Did you think of raising consumer awareness or something else as well?
    – How do you define young agripreneurs? What is the difference to young farmers?
    – You say you want to share personal intimate stories of the young agripreneurs? I wonder what kind of content you are thinking about?

    Looking forward to hearing back from you and all the best for the project!

    1. Dear Mara, we are sorry that you had problems posting your comment. We appreciate that you tried again and are very thankful for your insights! Actually, and you will not believe this, I just wrote a lengthly response to your questions, and also somehow the comment got lost. Turning to your first question, we, at GAEA, aim at having all our activities contribute towards a fairer food production system. This book would be a clear example of it by raising consumer awareness and for example by increasing the interest of policy-maker in investing in youth agripreneurial projects. With regards to your second question, we define a young agripreneur as a young professional that has recently, or is trying, to establish a new agri-business. A young agripreneur will not only include a young person involved in primary food production (i.e. a young farmer) but also include those who are involved along the value chain (e.g. in marketing). Finally, and touching upon your last question, we will leave up to the young agripreneur themselves to chose what they want to have shared with the wider public. We want to establish a direct connection from the reader to the young agripreneru and thus will not filter or content edit any of the micro-stories. We want the book to be an open window where the reader can meet with hundreds of young agripreneurs around the world. Thanks again Mara for your comments, they were very relevant and helpful

      1. Dear Mariola,

        Thank you very much for responding to my questions. Now everything makes a lot more sense 🙂
        I wish you all the best with the book. It sounds very interesting and I hope it becomes reality!!!

      2. Oh I forgot to add, funny that you had problems too with posting. Now I have figured it out and it works perfectly 🙂

  3. It’s very nice! In adittion, I think these micro-stories could be a help to the scientific community to focus their studies to the current (and future) problems in agriculture in developing countries. Have you thought about this? Congratulations!!

    1. Dear Ramonet, thanks for your nice words! Indeed, the micro-stories book would also highlight specific problems that the young entrepreneurs are facing currently in developing countries. At times, these challenges are overlooked by the scientific community and the general public. Thanks for the advice!

  4. This is a good idea. I can imagine the beautiful landscapes and stories that could emerge from such a project and emanating from all over the world! What a richness in culture – crops, products, foods, ways of life, philosophies, desires…. almost impossible to predict what it will contain! And to have a version of this on the internet would also help increase accessibility, since it is conceivable that a printed book may not be amenable to many people featured in it.

  5. thats sounds so great guys! i can help you to find Turkey’s agripreneurs when time comes ^.^ good luck!

  6. Young agipreneurs need the support of society at large to excel in their aspirations. This book has the ability to build that support through personalized connection.

    1. Thanks Ania. As you mention, is all about first opportunities and support to the youth, even more so in the field of agriculture. We definitely hope to contribute towards that with this book by letting their stories be heard all around the globe.

  7. This book sounds an imperative tool to promote agripreneurship among youth. It would be interesting to hear various success stories around the globe and hence find an inspiration for others.

  8. Great initiative, inspiring blog pitching it….as inspiring as so many young farmers around the world! Their stories need to be told and this book would be a great way to do that.

  9. Great thinking Acosta!! I can’t wait to read that book!

    How do you intend to choose the youth, i.e from what age will you start to consider? Putting into consideration the differences across countries? Need to be sure to prepare my story in advance.

    1. Thanks Sylvia! We want to have a fair representation of all types of youth (different age ranges, different socio-cultural background). In as much as possible, we would also want to maintain a representation from different countries and continents around the globe. And needless to say, if you have a story you want to have shared with the world, we would love to include it in our book 🙂 Thanks again!

  10. Una gran proyecto y tiene pinta de ser muy interesante! Continua por ese camino y conseguirás todos los éxitos que te propongas!

  11. A very practical and realistic approach to inspire the youth to engage in agriculture, and to learn from young entrepreneurs from all around the world. I look forward to the birth of this book 🙂

  12. These kind of initiatives are absolutely necessary to spread successful youth stories in agriculture and promote awareness about their needs among society that is now disconnected to agriculture!

  13. Nicely written blog, and I really like your proposal, sharing the stories of the many agripreneurs in the world.
    Have you thought about ways to use ‘the internet’ era in your favour? I read about temporary posts of stories published in the book on facebook or twitter, which is a great way to increase your outreach. But I would also love to see a book which inspires and encourages me to learn more about the different agricultural activities. I would also be interested to learn how these youth are doing after six months or a year for example. Personally I think that internet could provide a great platform to make this happen.

    Good luck developing your ideas!

    1. Thanks Mariëtte, we are glad you like the blog and the project concept. The idea of follow-up stories is actually very interesting, thanks for the suggestion! We indeed want social media and other online platforms to play a big role in the sharing process of these micro-stories. Thanks again!

  14. I love the idea! As a suggestion, have you guys considered options for distributing the work digitally (besides promotion through social media)? There are some really cool options for creating attractive, interactive digital books, which might make a good compliment to what you have planned already! Best of luck with your proposal!

  15. This is a great idea and it would be a fascinating way to learn about agriculture around the world. It sounds like it would be as informative as it would be inspiring. Good luck!

    1. Thanks Sarah for your nice words! We really aim at having an inspiring book for those who are thinking of becoming agri-preneurs, those who want to know more about what is behind their food, and more generally those who have an interest in agriculture.

  16. I really like incorporating time into this and using the internet to follow up on stories presented in a year or two. Ps. this platform isn’t so easy/evident to leave comments on!

  17. Dear aseyrich, that´s an excellent idea and it has actually also been brought up by another of our reviewers (Mariëtte McCampbell). We will definitely look into that. I’m sorry the platform is not the most conducive to leave comments, we thank you very much for having left yours though!

  18. I really wish you all the best for this project. Initiatives like this is what agriculture needs and I hope it will help youth people to get interested in. You have all my support!!

  19. I think it would be fascinating to read about why these people chose to do agriculture and what drives then. I hope this project goes ahead as I am looking forward to reading the stories.

  20. Really great idea! I hope that you will get the needed support to realize this project so that I can read through these stories during my morning coffee…! 😉 I think you really address a topic that needs to be communicated more to many different parties – and that also includes us researchers! Good luck with it!

  21. This is a great initiative, good luck ! I think hearing from youth who are passionate about agriculture and the environment will be impactful, I look forward to it

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