Cover image courtesy of Groundswell International.
Written by Anusha Gopalam, The University of Oklahoma
While many humanitarian organizations are trying to “help” poor rural communities through food aid programs and modern farming techniques with minimal success, Groundswell is taking an unconventional approach by investing in new agricultural leaders – the rural farmers themselves.
This article will conduct a critical investigation into Groundswell International’s alternate approach to addressing food security issues and economic instability in West Africa. Groundswell is a non-profit organization that partners with local organizations and their grassroots networks to improve agriculture and local food systems from the ground up, using a “learning-by-doing” approach. Working with smallholder farmers, particularly marginalized women, Groundswell tests different agroecological farming techniques and helps local farmers adopt those that work best for them. In restoring hundreds of acres of land, Groundswell works to integrate agroecological farming into promoting better nutrition, gender equality, sustainable local markets, and improved food systems. The Groundswell West Africa Collaborative Network focuses its efforts on four countries: Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Senegal.
As a result of increasing reliance on imports from other countries, many African communities, particularly the poor and rural people, have become increasingly drained of resources by bad economic policies and centralized governments. In response to the food crisis, many developmental NGOs are turning to “quick-fix” industrial agriculture methods, which are often too expensive for poor rural farmers. These aid efforts quickly become top-down, centralized efforts that largely ignore the distinct needs of the rural people and farmers. Here, I argue that although many global aid agencies do little to involve rural communities in agricultural decision-making, Groundswell International’s bottom-up strategy to implement personalized farming techniques is an innovative approach that is changing the agricultural paradigm, from one that imposes modern industrial techniques that marginalize poor rural farmers to one that works closely with them to develop real agroecological solutions.
Women farmers in the Sahel utilizing an agroecological technique known as Zaï water micro catchment basins to restore soil fertility.
Despite agriculture taking the center stage in the world’s development agenda, with many government agencies and development organizations investing more and more in “feeding the world,” food insecurity and poverty continue to torment poor rural farmers. This is a puzzling paradox, as policymakers have noted substantial increases in global agricultural production in recent decades. In response to an increasing reliance on imports from industrialized countries, governmental agencies in West Africa have sought to “modernize” agriculture within their own countries, encouraging locals to adopt more sustainable techniques and garnering support from international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to help implement these “quick-fix” solutions. Although there is some success with these interventions, many poor rural farmers still struggle to adopt the new techniques while balancing trade-offs associated with their unique social and ecological constraints. Relying heavily on food aid programs, smallholders fall into intergenerational poverty traps and lose opportunities for food sovereignty, at the detriment of local leadership and governance.
The biggest challenge of solving the food security crisis through sustainable agricultural interventions is avoiding further marginalization of poor rural farmers. More effective top-down policies and food aid programs may help partially, but in the meantime, an alternative approach – agroecological farming – is challenging the agricultural paradigm. Groundswell International is an NGO that has fully embraced this new strategy in its mission to address the root causes of food insecurity in the Sahel (West Africa). Recognizing the unique social, cultural, and economic challenges faced by rural smallholders, Groundswell works closely with local farmer organizations in four West African countries – Burkina Faso, Mali, Ghana, and Senegal – to help them test various agroecological farming techniques. With a special prioritization of women farmers, Groundswell is working to diversify and strengthen agricultural practices to develop real solutions for rural farmers, improving “food security, social marginalization, environmental vulnerability, and environmental degradation” in the process . This article will assess Groundswell International’s work in West Africa and consider the merits of an alternative “bottom-up” approach in fostering food sovereignty for rural communities.
Historical overview: the Sahel food security crisis
With the ever-increasing global population, discussions over how to produce enough food for everyone while also protecting the environment have led to the development of the “sustainability” concept. However, today’s predominant argument for sustainable development is that “traditional” farming societies are unable to overcome the food security crisis without adopting modern agricultural practices from industrialized societies. Many modernization theorists have thus criticized rural “resistance” to industrial development and attributed failures in sustainability interventions to the stubbornness of “conservative rurality” . We will revisit this debate and explore the perspective of “conservative rurality” in more depth. But first, it is worth considering the context and history of food production and security in West Africa that has led to the universal acceptance of industrial sustainable interventions.
In their article, “Diversified Farming Systems,” Kremen et al describe the origin of the industrialized agriculture movement, along with its impact on local farming communities. By the 1960s, the “Green Revolution,” comprised of a rapid rise in agricultural and technological innovations, began to attract attention from many governmental agencies and corporations around the world due to its mass production capabilities . In part due to neo-liberal economic reforms and other economic factors, localized governments in developing countries were left vulnerable for corporations to come and seize land for their biofuel production and mass production of global crops. Land grabbing, according to Kremen et al, is referred to as the “practice of agri-food companies, commodity traders, pension funds, and nationally-owned investment banks buying land in other countries for eventual large-scale food and resource production in response to food security concerns and food speculation” . The result of these commercial agriculture interventions was the displacement of poor rural farming communities. Without any means of effectively competing against commercial agricultural production, many poor rural smallholders sold their land and livestock, becoming more heavily reliant on the global food market .
Therefore, many West African countries began to rely heavily on imports for crucial crops, including staple rice and basic grains . In Ghana, poor governmental policies failed to protect the country from importing goods from industrialized countries . Consequently, in 2008, when there was a spiral in world food prices, the Ghanaian population faced a major food security crisis, with the poor rural communities being hit hardest. The severity of the crisis prompted the government to finally invest in agriculture . But by prioritizing agricultural productivity and economy, Ghana is pushing again for modern “green revolution” techniques, marginalizing local farmers and leaving them vulnerable to climate change. Other rural farming communities in the Sahel, such as those in Burkina Faso and Mali, are facing similar difficulties imposed by top-down “green revolution” techniques. Mali is on the verge of a “perfect storm,” due to several converging circumstances leading Mali toward a major food crisis including the rising price of fertilizers, alarming levels of soil degradation, reduction of cattle herds, and irregular rains caused by climate change . Burkina Faso is facing soil and water conservation issues, along with difficulties with pest control and other cyclical factors associated with climate risks. Ironically, despite reports by governmental authorities that national agricultural production levels have improved significantly, many rural populations are still hungry and relying on food aid programs. Therefore, positive national-level measurements do not account for the persistent lack of access to food for poor rural farmers in the Sahel .
Recognizing that simple yield-focused interventions do not take into consideration the effects of environmental degradation or the increased vulnerability of rural communities to climate change, many development agencies are urging smallholders to adopt more sustainable techniques of farming. In a study by West et al. called “Famines are a Thing of the Past: Food Security Trends in Northern Burkina Faso,” many citizens reported that large famines in the Sahel such as the ones that occurred in the 1970s and 1980s “could never happen again.” Since the 1970s, government and NGOs had developed famine early warning systems that would alert “donors, the Burkinabé government, and NGOs who in turn mobilized resources in response to these warnings” . Additionally, government and NGO investments in reforestation efforts and soil and water conservation (SWC) measures have helped many farmers adapt to harsh temporal conditions such as drought. Overall, food security in Burkina Faso appears to be improving. However, poorer households remain “chronically food insecure” and are fighting to survive increasing global food prices . Therefore, sustainable agricultural intensifications (SAIs) are not working for everyone, a “puzzling” phenomenon that is worth a closer investigation.
Sustainable interventions: “Quick-fix” solutions result in trade-offs and poverty traps
A common criticism modernization theorists make for rural societies that are struggling to practice sustainable farming is “conservative rurality,” as introduced above. In the article, “Facts behind the myth of conservative rurality,” Adjei et al. find that the modernization theorist’s basic argument for development is that it can only occur if rural societies transition to “more modern highly industrialized forms induced by the adoption of ‘appropriate’ western science and technology” . Here, an assumption is made that industrialized methods, resulting from “western science,” are inherently more advanced and sustainable. Conservative rurality is a concept referring to “traditional” societies whose “socio-economic factors contributing to the progress of a society remain to a larger extent, undisturbed and balanced” . Yet, Adjei et al. have pointed out that “traditional livelihood practices of peasant or rural societies do not necessarily imply conservatism” , as some traditional practices may prove to be even more sustainable for those communities than more modern agricultural techniques and can enable progress without modern interventions. Using data from mass cocoa spraying methods in Ghana, the authors determined that farmer resistance to modernization is not due to blind adherence to traditional practices. Rather, farmers are open to trying new techniques, but they are discouraged by factors such as cost, adaptability, reduced productivity, and/or lower profitability .
The myth of “conservative rurality” may be perpetuating chronic food insecurity in poor rural societies by failing to consider other factors that prevent smallholders from adopting more sustainable farming techniques. In the case of Burkina Faso, although the government and developmental NGOs have been able to encourage many farmers to adopt more sustainable practices, the poorest farmers quite simply do not have the resources to be able to utilize these solutions. West et al. discuss how these farmers are often “marginalized from village groups due to their lineage status and have low social capital” . Newer households who were the last to settle in the area often “do not have access to sufficient land of good quality” . As a result, these farmers have high “consumer-producer ratios” and have to rely on food aid programs, leaving them without a means to escape poverty. A significant factor contributing to the marginalization of poorer households is that husbands often leave the villages to find work elsewhere, leaving women and children by themselves . Therefore, the food insecurity crisis among the poorest and most marginalized populations is quite gendered, with women and children being the most susceptible to malnutrition .
SAIs imposed by governments and development agencies in a top-down “one-size-fits-all” manner are failing many poor farmers because the farmers are forced to make trade-offs. In a briefing for the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), Barbara Adolph discusses the many competing objectives smallholders have to choose from when they have limited resources. An assumption that governments and NGOs make is that smallholder farmers will prioritize sustainable agriculture systems. But, even within a single rural community, households can differ significantly in terms of priorities, as “they are also community members, parents and children, artisans and traders, labourers, and miners” . Competing objectives of these households may not always be directly relevant to farming, such as food security, educating children, income, social harmony, and natural resources . Often, this means that poor farmers will compromise between SAIs and less sustainable practices. Adolph also makes an important distinction between farmers deliberately choosing to prioritize other objectives compared to not having enough resources . She argues, “It is unfair and unrealistic to ask farmers in some of the poorest parts of sub-Saharan Africa to prioritise sustainability unless governments and development agencies can also move past a focus on ‘quick wins’ within election or project cycles” .
Unless governmental policies and developmental NGOs recognize the diverse needs of smallholder farmers in West Africa and recognize the interconnectedness of their agricultural and livelihood systems , poor rural farmers will remain marginalized and trapped in poverty. There is an increasing need for donors to invest more in local governance, providing local leaders with the guidance and resources to better address the needs of rural farmers. SAIs should not be assumed to be universal, and NGOs must explore the various social and cultural contexts of rural farmers to identify possible synergies within existing sustainable systems .
Groundswell’s approach: diversified farming systems led by women farmers
How can we improve food security for poor rural farmers when they do not have the resources to adopt modern sustainable agricultural practices? A simple answer would be providing food aid to the poorest farmers who cannot afford to buy global crops to make up for local food production shortages . But this is heavily paternalistic; without addressing the systemic causes of food insecurity and poverty, poor rural farmers will remain dependent on food aid programs without ever attaining autonomy . Continuing to push for industrialization is not the answer either, especially when rural communities are the most vulnerable to the climate risks exacerbated by unsustainable practices . What is needed to transform rural communities, then, is a shift in focus: from attempting to implement new agricultural technologies to recognizing the unique farming strengths of rural people within their particular sociocultural contexts .
This is the alternative approach that Groundswell International believes will bring about lasting change in rural communities and “address the root causes of poverty” . Groundswell International is a global partnership of local organizations and their grassroots networks. Founded in 2009, Groundswell’s goal is to foster communities that “learn from and support each other locally and globally” . Seeking to build from the “ground up,” Groundswell works with local NGOs in ten countries to help farmers to test agroecological farming techniques, which allow them to lead the process while also “managing, adapting and creating it” , encouraging others within their local farming networks to also adopt the techniques that worked. In working closely with rural farmers to strengthen “people-centered” food systems, Groundswell hopes to ensure food security while also fostering food sovereignty within local markets . In West Africa, Groundswell is currently working in four countries – Burkina Faso, Mali, Ghana, and Senegal. Local organizations in these countries are connected through the Groundswell West Africa Collaborative, which is affiliated with the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) .
A key component of Groundswell’s strategy to empower rural communities with food autonomy is encouraging diversified farming systems (DFS), a concept that has gained much more recognition in recent years. In “Diversified Farming Systems,” Kremen et al. discuss how rural social movements have “increasingly adopted agroecology and diversified farming systems,” as it enables rural farmers to “build autonomy from unfavorable markets and to restore degraded soils” . In contrast to the industrialization of agriculture, which leads to the homogeneity of farming practices that marginalize the voices of rural farmers, diversified farming systems utilize agroecological principles that value the distinct social and ecological relationships in different communities to help strengthen existing rural farming practices . By taking a “learning-by-doing” approach and helping farmers adopt techniques that fit within their social contexts, Groundswell is setting itself apart from the majority of developmental NGOs and donor agencies that often opt for “quick-fix” simplified solutions . Additionally, Groundswell’s efforts prioritize women, who are the real leaders of agroecological interventions and play integral roles in maintaining food networks in rural communities . By empowering rural women, Groundswell is successfully enabling poor rural communities to escape poverty traps and attain food sovereignty.
Groundswell’s methods are challenging the agricultural paradigm that has for so long believed that top-down sustainable interventions were the only way to help the food security crises in “traditional” societies. Working with the Sustainable Agricultural Intensification Research and Learning in Africa (SAIRLA), a program designed to generate research and influence government policies , Groundswell was able to publish policy briefing papers that direct governments to modify programs to reflect the primary needs of rural communities. Peter Gubbels, a Groundswell Director, collaborated with SAIRLA to publish a briefing to expand Ghana’s Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) program, which aspires to “make farming, once more, a respectable and profitable venture and create jobs” . Highlighting how Ghana’s recent successes do not reflect the “underlying crisis in agriculture,” Gubbels recommends strategies for the government to expand the focus of PFJ to include investments in regional agroecological practices so they can “sustainably intensify agriculture in Ghana” and combat climate change . By investing in small-scale, bottom-up practices that strengthen food security in small-scale farmers and transition to a “climate-resilient farming system”, Gubbels argues that the government can “increase agricultural output in Ghana by USD 400 million annually” .
Impact of Groundswell’s “bottom-up” interventions
Although Groundswell is a relatively new organization, its impact has been remarkable. Groundswell reports on their website that, globally, they worked with farmer leaders and their networks to restore “over 180,000 acres of degraded land” . They have also been able to empower 30,000 women farmers through access to “productive assets” and engagement with savings and credit groups . In turn, Groundswell states that this has improved agricultural production, along with enabling women to “diversify their livelihoods,” improving household food security and incomes and developing resilience .
Groundswell’s response to the rapid soil degradation in Mali illustrates the effectiveness of their “learning-by-doing” approach compared to other techniques. Roland Bunch, Groundswell’s Mali Program Coordinator, considers some of the socio-cultural constraints faced by Mali farmers. A traditional practice in Africa is “fallowing land,” or “letting part of their land sit idle in order to gain fertility” . Farmers would let the land sit for 12-15 years in order for the soil to become fully restored with organic matter. However, with the rapid increase in Africa’s population, land has become more scarce, forcing farmers to shorten fallow periods over the years and drive rapid soil degradation. Additionally, many farmers have sold off their animals to make room for more farmland, resulting in less manure to sufficiently fertilize the soil. Adding the irregular rain patterns worsened by climate change, soil degradation is occurring at an alarming rate, particularly in Mali . Chemical fertilizers are useful in increasing agricultural production even with poor soil quality, but increasing market prices and the way fertilizers can further perpetuate soil degradation make this practice unsustainable for rural farmers . In exploring various agroecological techniques, Groundswell has suggested the implementation of “green manure/cover crops (gm/cc)”, which “imitate the traditional fallows” and improve soil fertility as they have done for millennia before chemical fertilizers were introduced . The difference is that with gm/cc systems, farmers will be able to grow crops while fallowing at the same time as the gm/cc crops will grow right alongside their grain crops . As a result, this method can produce comparable yields as those from the use of fertilizers while also promoting sustainability AND reinforcing the existing rural tradition of fallowing land. Furthermore, because this soil restoration technique takes a few years to implement and reap benefits, Groundswell has suggested the farmers grow “short-cycle crops,” which will produce short-term rewards that “will help maintain the women’s enthusiasm” for agricultural work .
Through the introduction of agroecological techniques such as gm/cc systems in Mali, Groundswell is modeling a more effective approach that takes advantage of traditional expertise and fosters long-term environmental sustainability. While other developmental NGOs may increase food aid efforts or subsidize chemical fertilizers for poorer smallholders, these efforts are paternalistic in that they fail to foster autonomy in local communities, only fueling top-down “quick-fix” interventions. By helping rural communities adopt sustainable practices that also allow them to “own” their farming, Groundswell is promoting rural farmers to become leaders in agriculture.
Women: the future of rural agricultural leadership and innovation
In a presentation titled “Food Solutions by and for People and the Planet,” Fatou Batta, Groundswell’s West Africa Co-Coordinator, stated, “Women are the primary link between production, family consumption and ensuring the nutrition of children and the whole family” . In many African communities, women have become the main agricultural producers; yet, they are still given very few resources by male leaders in terms of fertile land and tools to grow more nutritious foods. If given the same opportunities as men, such as more “land, technology, financial services, education and markets”, women farmers could increase rural agriculture production substantially and reduce the percentage of global malnourished people by 12 to 17% .
Rural women farmers are crucial to directly improving global food insecurity and poverty, and therefore, agricultural development interventions must prioritize gender equity. In “Feminist Food Justice: Crafting a New Vision”, Carolyn Sachs and Anouk Patel-Campillo explore the merits of a new model that links the strategies of the feminist movement to agricultural interventions. Despite advancements in social justice movements and gender development, “gender mainstreaming have barely penetrated agricultural policies and research agendas” . To truly develop food sovereignty and overcome “hegemonic masculinities” that have been privileged in leadership at various levels, gender equity and women’s diverse roles in both production and distribution of food must be placed at the forefront of efforts to attain rural food sovereignty .
Groundswell recognizes the central role of women in improving rural agriculture, and therefore, in its effort to foster rural autonomy, one of Groundswell’s main objectives is promoting gender equity . Many NGOs that utilize agroecological techniques and promote food sovereignty do exist, but they have not been as effective as Groundswell , perhaps because they have not prioritized women in their interventions. With their efforts to empower women farmer networks with community-based agricultural enterprises, Groundswell is empowering women to become leaders in local markets and engage in innovative ways to diversify foods, while linking “agroecological farming to family nutrition” .
Despite increases in global agricultural production in the last several decades, food insecurity remains an increasingly dire reality for poor rural communities in the Sahel. Modernization theorists have argued that rural societies are inherently resistant to “western science” and industrialization. Ironically, the opposite is true: poorer farmers are largely open to interventions but are held back by too few resources and particular social and economic constraints that force them to make difficult trade-offs. While many governmental policies and NGOs are attempting to impose top-down sustainable interventions and increase food aid programs with minimal success, Groundswell International is taking an alternate approach that is less paternalistic and values the rural farmers’ perspective. Working closely with local farmer organizations, Groundswell is helping to implement agroecological practices that foster food sovereignty while also promoting environmental sustainability. With a special emphasis on gender equity, Groundswell aspires to make rural farmers the real leaders of the fight against malnutrition and poverty.
This post may have been edited by admin for clarity and length.
Bunch, Roland. “Mali – Africa’s Soil Fertility and Food Security Crisis.” Groundswell International, WordPress, April 2011, https://groundswellinternational.wordpress.com/where-we-work/mali/. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.
Groundswell International. “Fatou Batta: food solutions by and for people and the planet.” Groundswell International, WordPress, 4 April 2011, https://groundswellinternational.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/fatou-batta-food-solutions-by-and-for-people-and-the-planet/. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.
Groundswell International. “Promoting farmer innovation and agroecological production (part 3 of 8).” Groundswell International, WordPress, 26 April 2011, https://groundswellinternational.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/promoting-farmer-innovation-and-agroecological-production-part-3-of-8/. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.
Groundswell International. “Transforming NGO roles to help make food sovereignty a reality (part 1 of 8).” Groundswell International, WordPress, 23 March 2011, https://groundswellinternational.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/transforming-ngo-roles-to-help-make-food-sovereignty-a-reality-part-1-of-8/. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.
“Our Impact.” Groundswell International, Groundswell Inc, 2021, https://www.groundswellinternational.org/our-impact/. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.
“Who We Are.” Groundswell International, WordPress, https://groundswellinternational.wordpress.com/whoweare/. Accessed 4 May 2021.
Adjei, Prince Osei-Wusu, et al. “Facts behind the Myth of Conservative Rurality: Major Determinants of Rural Farmers’ Innovation Adoption Decisions for Sustainable Agriculture.” GeoJournal, vol. 82, no. 5, 2017, pp. 1051–1066. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/45117458. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.
Adolph, Barbara. “Trade-Offs in Sustainable Agricultural Intensification: the Farmers’ Perspective.” IIED Briefing, International Institute for Environment and Development, 2020, www.jstor.org/stable/resrep25173. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.
Gubbels, P. “How to sustainably intensify agriculture in Ghana? Recommendations for expanding the focus of the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme,” SAIRLA Policy Briefing, Ghana: IIED/Groundswell, May 2019, https://www.groundswellinternational.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Ghana-FISP-Policy-Brief.pdf. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.
Kremen, Claire, et al. “Diversified Farming Systems: An Agroecological, Systems-Based Alternative to Modern Industrial Agriculture.” Ecology and Society, vol. 17, no. 4, 2012. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/26269193. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.
Sachs, Carolyn, and Anouk Patel-Campillo. “Feminist Food Justice: Crafting a New Vision.” Feminist Studies, vol. 40, no. 2, 2014, pp. 396–410. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.15767/feministstudies.40.2.396. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.
West, Colin Thor, et al. “Famines Are a Thing of the Past: Food Security Trends in Northern Burkina Faso.” Human Organization, vol. 73, no. 4, 2014, pp. 340–350., www.jstor.org/stable/44148796. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.
“Homepage.” SAIRLA, https://sairla-africa.org/. Accessed 4 May 2021.
“Meet our Core Members.” Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), Afsafrica, 2019, https://afsafrica.org/core-members/#:~:text=Groundswell%20West%20Africa%20(GWA)&text=Work%20with%20farmer%20leaders%20to,of%20acres%20of%20degraded%20land. Accessed 4 May. 2021.
“Planting for Food & Job Operational Performance.” Ministry of Food & Agriculture Republic of Ghana, Ministry of Food & Agriculture, 2021, https://mofa.gov.gh/site/publications/research-reports/317-planting-for-food-job-operational-performance. Accessed 4 May 2021.
 “Meet our Core Members.” Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), Afsafrica, 2019, https://afsafrica.org/core-members/#:~:text=Groundswell%20West%20Africa%20(GWA)&text=Work%20with%20farmer%20leaders%20to,of%20acres%20of%20degraded%20land. Accessed 4 May. 2021.
 Adjei, Prince Osei-Wusu, et al. “Facts behind the Myth of Conservative Rurality: Major Determinants of Rural Farmers’ Innovation Adoption Decisions for Sustainable Agriculture.” GeoJournal, vol. 82, no. 5, 2017, pp. 1051–1066. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/45117458. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.
 Kremen, Claire, et al. “Diversified Farming Systems: An Agroecological, Systems-Based Alternative to Modern Industrial Agriculture.” Ecology and Society, vol. 17, no. 4, 2012. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/26269193. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.
 Groundswell International. “Transforming NGO roles to help make food sovereignty a reality (part 1 of 8).” Groundswell International, WordPress, 23 March 2011, https://groundswellinternational.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/transforming-ngo-roles-to-help-make-food-sovereignty-a-reality-part-1-of-8/. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.
 Bunch, Roland. “Mali – Africa’s Soil Fertility and Food Security Crisis.” Groundswell International, WordPress, April 2011, https://groundswellinternational.wordpress.com/where-we-work/mali/. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.
 Groundswell International. “Fatou Batta: food solutions by and for people and the planet.” Groundswell International, WordPress, 4 April 2011, https://groundswellinternational.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/fatou-batta-food-solutions-by-and-for-people-and-the-planet/. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.
 West, Colin Thor, et al. “Famines Are a Thing of the Past: Food Security Trends in Northern Burkina Faso.” Human Organization, vol. 73, no. 4, 2014, pp. 340–350., www.jstor.org/stable/44148796. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.
 Sachs, Carolyn, and Anouk Patel-Campillo. “Feminist Food Justice: Crafting a New Vision.” Feminist Studies, vol. 40, no. 2, 2014, pp. 396–410. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.15767/feministstudies.40.2.396. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.
 Adolph, Barbara. “Trade-Offs in Sustainable Agricultural Intensification: the Farmers’ Perspective.” IIED Briefing, International Institute for Environment and Development, 2020, www.jstor.org/stable/resrep25173. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.
 Groundswell International. “Promoting farmer innovation and agroecological production (part 3 of 8).” Groundswell International, WordPress, 26 April 2011, https://groundswellinternational.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/promoting-farmer-innovation-and-agroecological-production-part-3-of-8/. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.
 “Who We Are.” Groundswell International, WordPress, https://groundswellinternational.wordpress.com/whoweare/. Accessed 4 May 2021.
 “Homepage.” SAIRLA, https://sairla-africa.org/. Accessed 4 May 2021.
 “Planting for Food & Job Operational Performance.” Ministry of Food & Agriculture Republic of Ghana, Ministry of Food & Agriculture, 2021, https://mofa.gov.gh/site/publications/research-reports/317-planting-for-food-job-operational-performance. Accessed 4 May 2021.
 Gubbels, P. “How to sustainably intensify agriculture in Ghana? Recommendations for expanding the focus of the Planting for Food and Jobs Programme,” SAIRLA Policy Briefing, Ghana: IIED/Groundswell, May 2019, https://www.groundswellinternational.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Ghana-FISP-Policy-Brief.pdf. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.
 “Our Impact.” Groundswell International, Groundswell Inc, 2021, https://www.groundswellinternational.org/our-impact/. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.