en farming for biodiversity

farming for biodiversity
a solution search
farming for biodiversity

rare report on 300 community-based farming solutions provides pathway to protecting biodiversity globally

In 2017, Rare’s Solution Search competition unearthed 338 community-based solutions to help farmers and other agricultural practitioners adopt ecologically-friendly practices that protect biodiversity. This report responds to the accelerating loss of biodiversity globally with proven and promising solutions, while also identifying the common success factors that allow for replication, and a blueprint for scaling the adoption of sustainable behaviors needed to protect biodiversity globally.

why agriculture and biodiversity?

Unsustainable agricultural practices remain one of the greatest threats to ecosystems and biodiversity. As the world population is expected to reach nine billion by 2050 and climate change further threatens livelihoods, we have to identify new, more sustainable agricultural practices that support both farmers and the environment we all rely on.

The good news is many such solutions already exist at the community-levelAt the global level, the Convention on Biodiversity’s Aichi targets create a path towards the protection and sustainable use of biodiversity by 2020. Consumers are also becoming increasingly aware of how their choices are affecting the environment and the people who depend on it.

Now, we must surface what works for farmers at the community-level and take these bright spots to scale. That is what our Solution Search: Farming for Biodiversity is all about. 

In 2017, we joined PANORAMA – Solutions for a Healthy Planet to showcase some of the best ways to connect agriculture with biodiversity.

Agriculture drives 80% of deforestation
Land use contributes to 20-25% of climate change
Smallholder farmers provide more than 80% of food consumed in developing countries

how we work

With Farming for Biodiversity, we are on a global mission to surface these local solutions, celebrate them and bring them to scale. Our vision is to make these community-led initiatives shine and reach thousands of people worldwide. This is how we do it.

what's working

Through our global crowdsourcing effort, we have surfaced a total of 338 solutions that connect agriculture and biodiversity – inspired by communities from around the world. Explore the 10 brightest ideas, selected by our jury:

  • pigs.jpg


    A Growing Culture (Vietnam) - A Growing Culture is partnering with a farming community in Hanoi to create healthy hog bedding called “Living Bio-Beds” that actively break down hog waste and eliminates runoff and pollution into waterways.

    Photo: Jason Houston

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    Apis Agribusiness (Ethiopia) - Building on the country’s strong honey sector, Apis Agribusiness established wild honey production to help employ rural youth, while fighting deforestation and safeguarding the critical benefits of pollination.

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    chefs holding fish

    CanopyBridge - EcoDecision (Ecuador) - Canopy Bridge is capitalizing on the burgeoning Latin American food movement to help Amazon indigenous communities. By connecting Ecuador’s best chefs with indigenous communities and conservation NGOs, they are helping develop value chains for fresh foods from the Amazon that have substantial conservation benefits and great culinary potential.

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    Desarrollo Alternativo e Investigación A.C (Mexico) - Desarrollo Alternativo e Investigacion A.C led a seed dissemination process to diversify crops grown in Chiapas State, increase maize and beans yields and boost family incomes, while creating a knowledge exchange between farmers.

  • indonesian-farmers-on-farmland.jpg

    farmers on their land

    Fairventures Worldwide (Indonesia) - German NGO Fairventures Worldwide is working to combat the environmental and economic impact of deforestation by helping farmers institute a better land-use system focused on improving soil quality. This enables communities to produce fast-growing timber to generate income and grow fruits and vegetables. People and the environment benefit from improved nutrition, and less fertilizer run-off into water sources.

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    farm land

    Fundación Ecotop (Bolivia) - ECOTOP is using the idea of natural succession dynamics—growing a combination of various crops and trees at different levels, depending on their life cycle—to maximize agricultural density and diversity. By adopting this crop management system, farmers can produce high yields from a range of crops without external inputs while keeping the soil healthy and reducing pests.

  • farmers-with-crops.jpg

    training farmers

    Manor House Agricultural Centre (Kenya) - Manor House offers training programs in sustainable agriculture, such as organic farming, to help poor, small-scale farmers in Kenya produce higher yields, while minimizing their contributions to the drivers of climate change.

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    digging irrigation line

    The Mountain Institute (Peru) - In response to the degradation of puna habitat and declining livestock production, The Mountain Institute is connecting regional farmers with external experts to restore pre-Incan hydraulic systems with modern technology and materials to improve irrigation, and strengthen communities’ institutional capacities to govern and manage natural resources.

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    women meeting

    National Disaster Risk Reduction Center (NDRC) (Nepal) - Pollution in the Banganga River Basin was contributing to biodiversity loss, land degradation and other environmental challenges. The NDRC Nepal worked with government and non-government stakeholders to institute a series of more sustainable practices and executed a public awareness campaign that reached more than 14,000 indigenous households.

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    serving food

    Sustainable Income Generating Investment Group (SINGI) (Kenya) - A pilot project that is bringing together farmers, NGOs and government agencies is reviving interest in nutritious African Leafy Vegetables (ALVs). The project is not only helping build the capacity of entrepreneurial farmer groups to respond to market demand for ALVs, it is also promoting sustainable growing amongst farmers and healthier diets among children, families and communities.


winning solutions

A global jury of more than 30 agriculture & biodiversity experts from across disciplines selected winning solutions in six categories. These are our local champions, who were celebrated for their successes along the climate change conference in Bonn (COP23)

At the 2017 climate conference (COP23) in Bonn, our Solution Search: Farming for Biodiversity contest finalists met their peers, funders, and policy makers from around the world to bring their bright ideas to scale. Watch our video from the 2-day workshop and award ceremony to follow their journey.

2017 Solution Search Farming for Biodiversity in Bonn, Germany

follow our journey

The Courage to Change: Three Female Leaders Envision a Better Life

January 7, 2019
Three woman leaders are leading the change in their communities in Kenya, Nepal, and Ecuador. 

Stories From the Field: A Tale of Two Billboards
November, 29, 2018
Stories From the Field features experiences from conservation and behavior change practitioners.

Ethiopia’s Apis Agribusiness and Nepal’s National Disaster Risk Reduction Center Take Home Top Solution Search Prizes
November 22, 2017
Amid powerful calls to move forward with Paris climate pledges during COP23, Rare spotlights and celebrates creative local innovators in climate-friendly agriculture

Rare and GIZ team up to showcase selected agriculture & biodiversity solutions on PANORAMA – Solutions for a Healthy Planet
November 17, 2017
The initiative “PANORAMA – Solutions for a Healthy Planet” presented its vision and function in a side event at COP23 in Bonn, Germany with more than 90 attendees and launched a new thematic community on “Agriculture and Biodiversity”.

On to Bonn: Solution Search Announces Top 10 Farming for Biodiversity Finalists
June 9, 2017
June 11 marks the International Day of Agriculture, a day to take to recognize the importance of thriving and environmentally responsible farming. 

International Biodiversity Day: 338 reasons to celebrate
May 19, 2017
This Monday, on 22 May 2017, marks the International Day of Biological Diversity. This could be an occasion for painting a bleak picture: The current rate of global diversity loss is estimated to be a 1000 times higher than the extinction that would occur naturally.

The Search is On: Solution Search Contest Seeks Entrants with Biodiversity-Friendly Farming Practices
This year, Solution Search is on the hunt for the world’s most promising approaches in biodiversity-friendly farming practices. Solution Search: Farming for Biodiversity is now open for entries

connect with the farming for biodiversity team

Project Manager Ann-Kathrin Neureuther

Cotheniusstrasse 12
10407 Berlin, Germany
Tel: +49 30 60606860

power in partnerships

The project is driven by a global alliance of organizations aiming for more sustainable land use and agriculture.

Rare teamed up with IFOAM – Organics International as Implementing Partners to combine our expertise in behavior design and social marketing with IFOAM’s role as a global leader in in organic farming. The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) supports the project through the International Climate Initiative.

The initiative would not have been possible without our partners and advisors.