Our five goals are: 1) to support sustainable livelihoods for smallholder farmers and their communities in southern Africa; 2) to integrate health and nutrition with improved agricultural practices; 3) to enhance ecosystem services, including habitat, water quality, erosion control, and carbon sequestration; 4) to build social capacity through participatory methods; and 5) to promote cross-cultural understanding and relationship building through educational opportunities for students in Wisconsin and local leaders and community members.
Our approach thus far has centered on two systems of sustainable agricultural intensification: managed grazing on common pasturelands and organic gardening, especially emphasizing perennial plants. Managed grazing can double animal production while also building soil quality, reducing erosion, sequestering carbon, and promoting wildlife habitat. Organic home, school, and community gardens increase the quality and variety of local diets and thus improve nutrition and health, including HIV/AIDS survival. Perennial crops such as trees, bushes, and grasses reduce labor needs; require fewer expensive or scarce inputs; and are climate resilient.
The LAND project integrates sustainable food production with cooperative development and combines health education with agriculture education. Thus, we are merging food security with economic security. Health is inextricably linked to nutrition, agriculture, and education. The project has a special focus on children, empowering them with the knowledge and skills needed to live healthy lives and to lead their communities into a healthier future.