The Laudato Si’ Challenge partners with The Farm of Francesco — to grow their global network of demo farms committed to integral ecology and Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’
“The careful and correct transformation of systems of producing and distributing food must increase resilience, strengthen local economies, improve nutrition, reduce food waste, provide healthy diets accessible to all, and be environmentally sustainable and respectful of local cultures.” — His Holiness Pope Francis
The mission of The Laudato Si’ Challenge Foundation is to put the principles of Laudato sì into action by answering the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth through bold, coordinated and measurable impact. Taking up the challenges of His Holiness Pope Francis’ encyclical letter, Laudato sì: On Care for Our Common Home, The Laudato sì Challenge supports measurable and time-bound solutions to the global challenges set forth by Pope Francis in Laudato sì. We strive to implement concrete solutions to care for our common home and to empower vulnerable people to “change their orbit” by being the protagonist in their own solution, supporting the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals of “being a human dignity narrative that leaves no one behind.”
To put the principles of Laudato sì into action, by answering the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth, The Laudato sì Challenge brings together courageous leaders, “unlikely allies” of goodwill, from the public, private and faith sectors — in a spirit of solidarity and fraternity — to advance and accelerate new, specific, measurable and time-bound “Commitments to Impact.” We combine the precision and rigor of the venture philanthropy model with the focus, alignment and time-bound strengths of the “commitment model” — to drive measurable, sustainable and enduring impact.
Today, we are delighted to announce a partnership with The Farm of Francesco, a global network of demo farms committed to integral ecology and the Laudato Si principles.
The Laudato Si’ Challenge is providing seed funding to help these bold “socialpreneurs” grow their bold solution. We will help to nurture their initiative with guidance — and patient, mission-aligned capital, so that they can expand the Farm of Francesco model, globally.
We had an opportunity to ask their leadership team a few questions. We hope you enjoy their inspiring and illuminating answers. We sure did.
1. Who are you?
The Farm of Francesco is a global network of demo farms committed to integral ecology and the Laudato Si principles. We address it by applying regenerative agriculture practices and combining a sustainable integral ecology approach with vocational programs aimed at training new young farmers locally in the area served.
The initiative was born in June 2020 as part of The Economy of Francesco and it is an answer of 10 Youth — Maria Virginia Solis Wahnish, Mateusz Ciasnocha, Rita Barbunde Federico Miaton, Giacomo Giordano, Carolina Alzate, Joseph Min, Ariel Molina, Natali Julio and Janet Maurano — representing different countries around the world — Nigeria, Colombia, Brazil, Italy, Germany, Poland, Spain, Mexico, China and Argentina — to Pope Francis’ call to give a new soul and life to the economy by creating a prophetic and specific solution that mitigates the injustices we live and see in agriculture in the current context.
Our training program has two main user groups: Disadvantaged youth without viable opportunities to develop sustainable livelihoods for themselves and their families; and local communities, who through our farms gain access to diverse, nutritious and affordable foods previously not available in the market.
The objective of the training program is to equip young farmers with skills and capabilities that will help them create and manage new farms committed to regenerative agriculture.
The Farm of Francesco has been implemented in two demo farms in Ibadan, Nigeria and Manaus, Brazil together with two of our team members.
Finally, we are currently developing a digital platform that will operate as a knowledge hub and aggregator for all the material, videos, classes and information created and delivered in the vocational programs offered at our demo farms. This is paramount to ensure the future scalability of our positive holistic impact.
2. What is your 1-year, 5-year and 100-year vision for Farm of Francesco?
Our vision is to transform the current agricultural food system by setting a demo in a specific community and context. We plan to educate 40 youth in the area and have an impact on an average of 200 hectares of land per demo farm per farm.
The Farm of Francesco vision and objective is to establish a network of 250 demo farms distributed around the world by 2030, this will have an average and minimum impact of 50,000 hectare restoration impacting more than 10,000 Youth and their communities by 2030.
3. Why do you do this work?
The Farm of Francesco’s WHY is rooted in our collective response to Pope Francis’ call to restore our Common Home: the Earth by addressing the key injustices we see present in our communities.
Our WHY is a response to the injustices in agriculture we experience in our local territories and globally. We believe that The Farm of Francesco is possible thanks to our team, community and network, who are working together with us.
We are delighted to know our objectives are dear to our key partners such as the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development from the Holy See, The Economy of Francesco, Laudato si Action Platform, Laudato Si Challenge, Slow Food, Faith-based organizations inspired by the Economy of Francesco Community launched by Pope Francis to restore our Common Home, Small-holder farmers, University and Institutions such as Georgetown University and Savory Institute, and institutions like the FAO and the UN Food System Summit.
4. What is your main goal now?
Our main current goals is to get the two demo farms in Nigeria and Brazil functioning in a regenerative economy, and develop vocational education by co-building and implementing our digital platform in an in-farm experience.
As we believe in the power of building bridges and working together with the communities in the field, we have extended our work and conversation in Ibadan, Nigeria, where we plan to implement our first workshop with the 5 villages of the area of Egbeda, impacting more than 150 families and 1200 hectares of land.
We plan to achieve that by following the methodology of See-Choose-Act provided by Pope Francis. By listening to the needs from the community, we are mapping the context, analysing and developing an action plan combining in-farm experience and teaching with workshops on regenerative agriculture, renewable energies and water accessibility.
To make all of this possible, we are inviting all the community to join our fundraiser on our website!
Our first initial goal is to reach $25,000 to complete the first stage of the project. For $10, you can support regenerating one square meter of land which will be used to grow food, regenerate the soil, and have an impact on the life of the local community of five villages in Ibadan, Nigeria. You can join a co-create a change together with us!
5. How can people be of highest service to that goal — and to your work, more broadly?
Today you can support us and joining our journey by:
- Spreading the word — Sharing about Laudato Si and our initiative with others! Follow us in our Social Media! (We are @farms_of_francesco in Instagram and The Farm of Francesco in LinkedIn)
- Supporting our funding campaign at www.francescofarm.com — you become our supporter and join our network.
- Become our Partner — we are always creating bridges and increasing our network. You can support us on the territories by providing working capital (seed, machinery,et), or by co-creating our workshops and trainings together with us and the communities,
- Become our Mentor and Investor — Join our network as a mentor to help us increase our model and impact!
6. What one piece advice would you give to a young entrepreneur trying to address an injustice or improve a situation with an innovative approach, just as you have?
I would say “trust, follow your intuition and reach out for help”, trust the people that cross your path, your journey, experience, mistakes, knowledge, networks, mainly, trust that fire that lives inside you and tells you to go out and do something to change the injustices and situations that hurt you today. There are going to be challenges and difficulties, but you are not alone, we are together in the journey
The Farm of Francesco Family