Knowing and Growing Network of Organic Women Farmers in the Caribbean: Digital media for learning, networking and farm management
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AbstractWith no explanation for climate change or the abrupt shifts in weather, farmers may think this is ‘God’s work’ - and beyond the control of mere mortals. By extension, farmers might not consider themselves actors of consequence whose actions could have direct impacts for climate change and for our collective futures on this planet. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth! // We have been working with farmers in the Caribbean region since 2004, developing an e-network support system of organic women farmers – first teaching them about the holistic benefits of organic farming (food and health, management of climate change, biodiversity, local production) but also teaching them technical aspects to using the Internet more broadly and social networking tools more specifically over time. In 2010, six workshops later, the network is at least 180 people strong – primarily but not exclusively, women farmers. What began as a network of farmers seeking to become organic has now extended to farmers concerned about a healthy and resilient food economy in the context of climate change and environmental stress. // A review of current research and documentation shows that there are few comprehensive materials that look at women’s use of and access to ICTs in the context of farming and climate change. Our research indicates that despite the lack of dependable data on the impact of climate change on agriculture, the issue is gaining more attention as climate issues attract more urgency. At the same time, it is clear that the treatment of climate change and agriculture needs to be localized in order for it to be of any value to farmers and policy makers alike. // We will present our work, the challenges, and the particular gender dimensions of working with media and technology tools in a rural and multi-island setting – in a participatory workshop session.