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Facilitating & Sharing Community-Based Research through Seed Saving Initiatives in Rural Communities of Northern Ecuador



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Please join us for a presentation with Latin American Studies doctoral student Michael Ayala Ayala, who will reflect on and share findings from his recent community-based research involving seed saving initiatives in rural Ecuador.

What is the contribution of seed saving to food security and food sovereignty? How does seed saving build resilience at a community level? Central University of Ecuador, Ohio University, and the Catholic University of Ecuador have joined efforts to find links between seed saving practices and community resilience through community mobilization and capacity building in northern communities of rural Ecuador.

Ayala will present the preliminary results from an exploratory pilot study conducted in five rural communities in Ecuador. These results document the diversity of crops and practices at the farm level and identify best practices for seed saving, within a participatory community-based research approach. Semi-structured individual interviews, focus groups, time-line mapping, and group interview technics were used for collecting and analyzing data. Intergenerational diversity and worrying loss of crop diversity was detected, which raised the farmers’ awareness about the importance of reclaiming lost crops in the communities. Best practices for seed production and factors that inhibit and encourage the implementation of those practices were established and discussed. New hypotheses are being proposed based upon those results and the community is eager to start an action plan to recover crop diversity as a strategy to build resilience through seed saving practices.

Ayala received his BA in Agricultural Engineering from the Universidad Central del Ecuador with concentrations in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development. He received his MA in Environmental Education for Sustainability from Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, and his Higher Education Diploma in Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation of Social Development Projects from La Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales in Quito, Ecuador. He started his career as an Organic Agriculture mentor and instructor, working with farmers from the highlands, coastline, Amazon, and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. Using Environmental Education as a tool, he has supported communities in finding their own path to sustainable development. He started teaching sustainable agriculture at the university level in 1996 and now teaches Environmental Education for Sustainable Development at the Central University in Quito, Ecuador. Currently, Michael is pursuing his PhD in Latin American Studies with concentrations in Geography and Environment and Community and Regional Planning.


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Facilitating & Sharing Community-Based Research through Seed Saving Initiatives in Rural Communities of Northern Ecuador