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    Sylvia Banda: Growing Local Food Systems & Training Female Farmers

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    When Ashoka Fellow Sylvia Banda grew tired of her office job, she called in sick and started cooking.

    Ronaldo Lima de Oliveira is working both to prevent the destruction of the rain forest and to guarantee the survival of forest communities by creating a model for sustainable agro-economical activities in Brazil's recently-created "extractive reserves." The strategies that he is developing will allow people living in the reserves to meet their food needs and to produce a surplus to be sold in the market, thus enabling them to buy other goods necessary for their family's survi

    Flávio Luna is improving the culture and skills of a new class of small producers arising from Brazil’s large landless population. Through a multifaceted approach harnessing technology, Flávio fills key gaps in the agricultural value chain, from transforming existing extension services to meet the needs of these producers, to launching new services.

    Wigold Schäffer is developing, demonstrating and testing a new model for the operation of small farms that reconciles the preservation of secondary forests and attendant biodiversity with farmers' desires for higher incomes and improved quality of life.

    By introducing an impressive array of environmentally-friendly economic development projects to the Amazon’s most deforested region, Vitória da Riva Carvalho is proving that conservation does not have to come at the expense of economic growth. She is creating entirely new value chains around low-impact tourism, while protecting the forest and incentivizing cutting-edge environmental research and education.

    Laury Cullen, Jr., has created an agricultural model that is sustainable environmentally and that provides production and ownership opportunities to bridge the gap in Brazil's entrenched disputes over land rights.

    Luis Fernando created the first unified agriculture certification system in Brazil and the world’s first certification standard for sugarcane to promote responsible agricultural practices. He is now sharing his success cases and partnering with key public and private actors to tackle deforestation in Brazil and beyond.

    Merlong is helping small farmers in the state of Piaui overcome historically defeatist attitudes to become more productive. Through CERMO, a non-profit educational and consulting organization he co-founded, he hopes to help the region's small farmers become more productive and combine to achieve greater market power.

    In response to the increasing industrialization of dairy farming in France, Fabrice is developing an entrepreneurial-driven small-scale farming alternative that reinvents the role of farmers keeps them in the agricultural and economic landscape. Through new modes of production and distribution that respect the environment and offer healthy milk, he positions dairy producers as wellness partners and reconnects them with consumers.