Exploring Sustainable Agriculture that is Rooted in Feminism

Exploring Sustainable Agriculture that is Rooted in Feminism

“Among the various topics covered, regenerative agriculture stood out for me, particularly its connection to gender equality and women’s empowerment in agriculture.”

As I sat scrolling through emails, one message caught my eye. I had been selected for a prestigious Southern Africa Feminist Fellowship, which I applied for earlier this year. I felt a mix of excitement and curiosity as I read the details. The first training would take place at the beautiful Bertha Retreat in Stellenbosch, South Africa, starting from April 15–21, 2024, in a country I had never visited before. I couldn’t wait to experience the vibrant culture and meet like-minded individuals from across the region.

My journey to the regional fellowship

As I travelled from Zambia to South Africa, my anticipation grew. What would the retreat be like? Who would I meet? Would we share similar passions and goals? My questions were answered as I arrived at Bertha Retreat, a stunning place surrounded by lush gardens and colourful flowers. The natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere immediately put me at ease.

The warm hospitality and wholesome food only added to my comfort. I felt appreciative to be in this serene setting with people who shared my enthusiasm for bringing about positive change. The training began, and I was thrilled to see the diverse group of individuals gathered in the room. Our shared commitment to food security, agriculture, the environment, and gender equality brought us all together. As we dove deeper into the sessions, I knew that this fellowship would be a life-changing experience, one that would equip me with the knowledge and skills to make a meaningful impact in my community and beyond.

Empowering women through regenerative agriculture
Maliki Dasoo facilitating a session
Maliki Dasoo from Extinction Rebellion South Africa is facilitating a session on Regenerative Agriculture, Regional Feminist Fellowship Workshop, Cape Town, April 2024.

Among the various topics covered, regenerative agriculture stood out for me, particularly its connection to gender equality and women’s empowerment in agriculture.

Regenerative agriculture is an approach that prioritizes soil health, biodiversity, and ecosystem services. It’s a paradigm shift from conventional farming practices that degrade the environment and perpetuate inequality. What struck me was how this approach can be a game-changer for women in agriculture.

In many African countries, women are the primary caregivers and food producers, yet they often lack access to land, resources, and decision-making power, especially on markets. Regenerative agriculture offers a chance to challenge these gender dynamics. By promoting women’s participation in sustainable agriculture, we can increase women’s control over land and resources, enhance their economic independence, improve food security and nutrition, and support climate resilience.

The fellowship sessions emphasized the importance of addressing gender barriers in agriculture, such as discriminatory laws, social norms, and limited access to credit and technology. We also discussed successful examples of women-led agricultural initiatives in South Africa and beyond that are producing a lot of organic foods on the market.

Back in Zambia now, I’m excited to put my newfound knowledge into practice. I have started a garden in Lundazi, where I am experimenting with regenerative agriculture techniques. My mom, a seasoned farmer herself, has joined me on this journey, sharing her expertise and enthusiasm. Together, we’re working towards creating a thriving oasis that showcases the potential of regenerative agriculture.

My ultimate dream is for this garden to become a hub for learning and inspiration, empowering women in my community to embrace sustainable farming practices, invest in food production, and cultivate a brighter future for themselves and their families. I believe that by working together, we can cultivate a more equitable and sustainable food system that benefits all.

Join movements that support sustainable farming practices and gender equality in agriculture. Get involved in initiatives and help empower women farmers to create a more equitable and resilient food system.

Learn about Oxfam South Africa’s Regional Fellowship Programme Here

Lebogang Ramafoko facilitating a session
Oxfam South Africa Executive Director Lebogang Ramafoko facilitating a session during the Regional Feminist Fellowship Workshop, Cape Town, April 2024.

Written by Perthias Manda

Perthias Manda is a dedicated youth advocate from Zambia, passionately championing women’s rights and welfare, gender equality, youth leadership, and climate change action. As a member of Young Women in Action, Perthias has contributed to a lot of women’s agendas and policies in Zambia. He is also an Oxfam South Africa Feminist Fellow, further solidifying his commitment to creating a just and equitable society. Through his advocacy, Perthias strives to amplify the voices of marginalized communities and inspire positive change in his country and beyond.