“Make sure that you have a strong convening platform which is accepted as a powerful player in the region where you operate and build partnerships with other groups and organisations in their area. For the Borders, this will be the next step, which building on learning from their process will involve inviting people over for dinner and having lots and lots and lots of one-to-one conversations.”
The Borders, Scotland
“Dialogues between small scale farmers and policymakers provide a perfect platform for discussion of issues facing smallholder farmers. For the dialogues to be successful, a conducive environment is needed. Having dialogues in the landscape where policymakers can practically see the challenges by even visiting some farms make them understand the problems better for their action. Dialogues should not be done in big hotels, and should be a continuous process.”
Rabai Community, Coastal Kenya
“To get the conversation started I think you need to give people talking points to start with. If you say to people: ‘talk about your food systems, the challenges and the solutions, go!”, you're not going to get much of a conversation because I think people might think, “Oh, I haven't got anything to say, or I don't know how useful my experience is going to be” but the whole point is that until we start talking, we don't actually find out”.
The Highlands, Scotland
“I would advise to organise dialogues following the lunar cycle. I think it’s better if the first conversations are about the individual reasons behind what we are doing together, not about what the collective problem or the solution is. Instead, a conversation that starts from people sharing what it is that calls them to take part in this. After you’ve established this, then you can begin talking about what you want to build together "
Milpa Alta, Mexico
Martina, Carmen, Mauricio
“Start talking with farmers as soon as possible, and then take it slow… it’s one of the things I've learned from our process, you cannot innovate for farmers, I think you rather have to innovate with farmers. And that is only possible when they're next to you or in front of you. It’s important they have a seat at the table and have ownership.”
“Be very realistic about what you are going to achieve with these dialogues. People can say ‘we will do these dialogues, and this will change the world’…but instead say ‘we are creating a space to have conversations and there will be moments throughout where there will opportunities to send things to other places and have conversations with people in other places, but the important things is to have these conversations between ourselves”.
Quito & Manabí, Ecuador
““Set up your programme to have more interaction. Have some structure but also let the conversation flow with what people bring up. We loved picking up significant points from participants that came out to steer the conversation like challenging the distinction between producers and consumers. Put time into conscious facilitation and design... Also include practitioners of large-scale agriculture it will be a good opportunity to compare and contrast different systems.”
Samdhana Facilitating Team
Take it slow, take it one step at a time and do not rush the process. In all this, trust and relationship building is essential. That's what makes it easy. Because once the farmers and the government trust you, and you have their attention it makes it easier, until you have this you really can't transform the food system to be more sustainable. It’s also essential not to promise what cannot be delivered, because if the delivery is not there, the trust goes with it"
Oyo State, Nigeria
“As our dialogues were being recorded as podcasts, we wanted to keep the number of participants to a minimum and wanted to have a clear focus on our conversations. Planning the conversations and working with an experienced presenter/facilitator was really important. We also used an experienced producer to record the podcasts to ensure high production values and assistance with hosting etc.”
“Put a lot of energy in right at the beginning to engaging outside your usual circles. Find the allies in unlikely places, don't dismiss a group just because you think that they're not likely to be interested, because you don't know, don't make any assumptions. And, don't ever assume that the work is done. There's always more outreach and storytelling about what you're up to and invite more people in.”
South West, Scotland
“Take the time to plan what you are going to do so you are clear about the methods, tools and processes that you want to use. These are going to be completely different depending on where you are working. For us, we were working with communities that do not read and write in vernacular language so the tools and the methods are different. This process helps you vision a more robust plan.”