This article summarizes several of the plenary sessions presented at the 2016 ECHO conference in Florida. If you were unable to attend the conference, or would like to review some of the talks, many of them can be viewed on ECHOcommunity. Other 2016 presentations that appear there include "Tropical legumes for sustained cropping on marginal soils," "Silvopastoral systems in Brazil," and "Culturing beneficial microbiology for farming." Talks given in previous years are also available on the website.
Tithonia (Tithonia diversifolia), also known as Mexican sunflower or tree marigold, is a perennial shrub that is native to Mexico and Central America. Often introduced for its attractive flowers, it is now found in humid and sub-humid parts of Africa, Asia, and South America. It grows on most soils, can reach 3 meters (m) in height, and is moderately resistant to drought (Heuzé et al. 2016; Orwa et al. 2009).
Gender dynamics in relation to agriculture is a big topic, and one we have not previously written about in EDN. Yet in recent years, widespread attention has been paid to the disparity that often exists between men and women when it comes to agriculture and access to related resources. I talked to several members of ECHO’s network (who are also former interns and staff members) to get their input, based on their experiences in a wide range of cultures and communities. I hope you enjoy the unique article that resulted!
Success on a small farm depends on the family members who run it and live off what it produces. When you evaluate your agricultural programs and training, are both men and women participating in equal numbers in meetings, trainings and experiments? Who makes decisions about what and where to plant? Who does what tasks? At harvest time, how is the income used, and who decides this?