Putting the farmer at the heart of the society

Close to 2 billion people around the world live and work on small farms, often family-run. These farmers are not only the lifeblood of supply chains; they are innovators with the potential to profoundly and positively impact the human and natural ecosystems surrounding them. Rurality, an initiative of TFT, believes they are entrepreneurs who should be empowered to realise their visions.

Creative thinking and entrepreneurial spirit abound at the bottom of the supply chain – what is often lacking is support and the right connections. Rurality will help farmers develop their own capacity through strategic use of market links and supply chains and through experts and partners who can help realise the vision of smallholding leaders.

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The farmer as a successful and prosperous entrepreneur

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For every farmer in the world, earning enough income to support his family and to pass on the business to his descendants is a daily struggle. But as difficult as this may be, the farmer is not a victim that needs assistance. At Rurality, we prefer to see him as an entrepreneur with a vision who needs support to bring it to life and to innovate. We believe the connection to the market is fertile ground for creating value both for the farmer and his clients.

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Reconnecting to Nature

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The rapid urbanization of the world population increasingly moves the human being away from Nature. In particular, we don’t know where the food we consume comes from. The loss of this connection prevents us from truly understanding important issues such as the over-exploitation of natural resources or the ill-treatment of animals – issues that have consequences on our environment and health, generate a massive loss of diversity and ultimately threaten the very survival of our societies. Reconnecting Mankind to Nature through the agricultural products we consume is an opportunity to increase awareness and create openness to the possibilities of the change we so desperately need. 

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Valuing those who work the land

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For several decades, rural areas have shifted from family-centred agricultural activity to agro-industrial, residential or tourism activities. The countryside offers attractive surroundings and quality of life, but actually working the land is frequently underappreciated, and unfairly so. Only the farmer can ensure our food supply, take care of nature on his land and in his surroundings, shape the countryside and create a livelihood from the environment. Working the land requires a strong commitment, both personally and professionally, which should inspire respect and pride. Through our work we aim to encourage present and future generations to see farming as a noble vocation.

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Passing on precious knowledge

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 Mankind has cultivated the Earth for thousands of years, and farmers all over the world have created and accumulated a unique knowledge base as they have learned how to look after animals and how to be innovative in adapting to the environment. That know-how, passed on from generation to generation, is essentially a living library. It is not only a cultural asset of the world’s rural identities, but also a precious pool of knowledge and diversity which will allow agriculture to adapt to our rapidly-changing natural world. 

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Keeping the human factor in agriculture

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The dominant narrative in economic development is to reduce costs by bringing human intervention to a minimum and build economies of scale. In this view, the only future agriculture can have is one of huge farms that produce commodities, in which land and animals are managed like a factory. While mechanization is helpful to development, systematically applying the rules of the industrial world to farming is a danger. We believe the basis of a prosperous future lies in a respectful attitude towards life and natural resources. Only a human being can manage this relationship with nature on a daily basis by mobilizing the listening capacity, sensitivity, care and understanding which are necessary to maintain harmony between Man and Nature. And in this relationship, the most important human being is the farmer. 

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