SF Bay Area

Food Heroes: Cultivating women farmers in Georgia

FAO Food Hero Irina Vasilyeva. A farmer in the central European country, Georgia, has been sharing her lifetime of knowledge with other women farmers in the region, saying that “there is nothing in agriculture that a man can do and a woman can’t.”

Irina Vasilyeva has been chosen as one of 17 Food Heroes by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Agency (FAO), as an example of how access to technical knowledge and innovation can empower smallholder farmers to become agents of change.

Food Heroes are recognized for their commitment to provide food for their communities and beyond. She spoke to the UN ahead of World Food Day, marked annually on 16 October. “My name is Irina Vasilyeva, and I live in the ancient village of Vartsikhe, Bagdati municipality in western Georgia. This is an agricultural community and families here have been involved in farming for centuries.

My husband and two children have also managed to earn a livelihood from agriculture, however as COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on tourism and restaurant businesses increased last year, I struggled in vain to sell my produce at a market in Kutaisi, the main city in western Georgia.

Fortunately, our situation has improved thanks to the support of FAO and the European Union which brought new Farmer Field Schools and demonstration plots to the region and specifically to my village, which highlight innovative farming methods.

I heard that FAO agronomists were visiting a seedling production facility nearby, so I attended the meeting and showed them my farm records. I always record what I do on my land and I told them that I wanted to learn how to improve the quality of my crops.

Irina Vasilyeva's farm in western Georgia, is being used as a model for agricultural training.
FAO Irina Vasilyeva’s farm in western Georgia, is being used as a model for agricultural training.

I learnt that modern agricultural practices, including drip irrigation, mulching and beds formation, could greatly improve the production of cucumbers, tomatoes and salad herbs in my three greenhouses.

I didn’t know my plants were using so much fertilizer. With drip irrigation and better calculations, I use less now. It’s a serious cost saving measure.

Costs are crucial, especially for female farmers in Georgia, who, like me, want to establish an independent source of income.

Working with FAO has also taught me there is nothing in agriculture that a man can do, and a woman can’t.

Now, I can produce lettuce in winter without greenhouse heating. This off-season production allows me to avoid competition with other farmers. And the high-quality produce that I am now growing along with reduced costs has helped me to overcome the economic hardships of the pandemic.

More local women in my village are now moving into agriculture to supplement family income.

As a food hero, I am happy to share my knowledge and experience and for my farm to be used as a model for agricultural training”.

 

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CodePink is a women's grassroots-initiated, worldwide organization of women and men working for peace, social justice and a green economy. CodePink SF serves the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.


 

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Oct
22
Fri
5:00 PM Friday Peace Vigil Back on the S... @ In front of MLK Library
Friday Peace Vigil Back on the S... @ In front of MLK Library
Oct 22 @ 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Friday Peace Vigil Back on the Street. @ In front of MLK Library
End Endless War Remaining silent is not an option. We can either have a culture of complicity, or a culture of resistance. With no public opposition we will have a culture of complicity. Public acts[...]
Gatherings
Oct
20
Wed
4:30 PM WTF: Climate Change, Displacemen...
WTF: Climate Change, Displacemen...
Oct 20 @ 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM
WTF: Climate Change, Displacement and the Border Industrial Complex
Wednesday, October 20 at 4:30pm PT, join us in conversation with Todd Miller author of Empire of Borders. The United States is outsourcing its border patrol abroad—and essentially expanding its borders in the process. The[...]
Oct
21
Thu
2:00 PM Funding Violence: How the U.S. W...
Funding Violence: How the U.S. W...
Oct 21 @ 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Funding Violence: How the U.S. War Machine Works
In this workshop, we will research both Pentagon spending and US military aid. We will explore Department of Defense websites to investigate the hows of the US’ funding of violence abroad. Khury Petersen-Smith is the Michael Ratner[...]
2:00 PM Funding Violence: How the U.S. W...
Funding Violence: How the U.S. W...
Oct 21 @ 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Funding Violence: How the U.S. War Machine Works
In this workshop, we will research both Pentagon spending and US military aid. We will explore Department of Defense websites to investigate the hows of the US’ funding of violence abroad. Khury Petersen-Smith is the Michael Ratner[...]
Oct
22
Fri
12:00 PM Dance of Peace Class Municipal R...
Dance of Peace Class Municipal R...
Oct 22 @ 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Dance of Peace Class Municipal Rose Garden.
Join Khalilah Ramirez, the Peace Dancer, for the Dance of Peace class at the Municipal Rose Garden (at Dana and Naglee) San Jose. Dance & Play among the flowers! You will learn how to create[...]
Oct
23
Sat
9:00 AM Peaceful Yoga w/Khalilah @ Online
Peaceful Yoga w/Khalilah @ Online
Oct 23 @ 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Peaceful Yoga w/Khalilah @ Online
Description This is a morning yoga class focused on strengthening, calming and centering the body, mind and spirit. No prior experience in yoga is required. Link To All Classes: Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3090894469… Meeting ID:[...]
Oct
26
Tue
4:00 PM The Spoils of War: Conversation ...
The Spoils of War: Conversation ...
Oct 26 @ 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
The Spoils of War: Conversation with Author Andrew Cockburn
Join CODEPINK in conversation with author Andrew Cockburn about his new book: The Spoils of War: Power, Profit, and the American War Machine. During this webinar, attendees will hear from Andrew about his new book[...]

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The national CodePink organization organizes for justice for Iraqis and to hold war criminals accountable. CodePink actively opposes the U.S. war in Afghanistan, torture, the detention center at Guantanamo, weaponized and spy drones, the prosecution of whistleblowers, U.S. support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine and repressive regimes.

Rooted in a network of local organizers, CodePink's tactics include satire, street theatre, creative visuals, civil resistance, and directly challenging powerful decision-makers in government and corporations. And, of course, wearing pink!