The TOA programme is implemented by four working groups:
1.1 Capacity building and Young Organic Farmers (YOF)
1.2 Technical Support and Exchange – TOA Organic Seeds project
Partners are in the process of forming a consortium or alliance and propose a regional organic seeds production project to donors. The regulatory seeds framework in most countries is complex and hostile to the interests of small-scale farmers. The project will have as its focal point the module on organic seeds production of the new BSc course in organic agriculture to be conducted from September 2019 onwards (in English) at the College of Natural Resources (CNR), Royal University of Bhutan
(RUB), including collaboration among seed producers in Bhutan. Its broader aim is networking, seeds exchanges and empowerment of organic seed producers in the Mekong region, Bhutan, and neighbouring countries.
1.3 Action-research and Advocacy
Under the auspices of TOA, research was conducted and exchange meetings were held on: land issues and comparison of organic versus chemical farming in terms of wellbeing impact. The series included a professional workshop conducted by Right Livelihood Award laureate Hans R. Herren
with participation support of the Asian Development Bank (ADB); design of wellbeing impact indicators along the model of the GNH Index; multi-stakeholder dialogue on agriculture policy development including national planning institutes. A French intern, supported by CCFD – Terre Solidaire
– the major supporter of the TOA partnership – conducted a one year literature research on organic agriculture policy development in the Mekong region + Bhutan. In Myanmar a preliminary country assessment was undertaken in collaboration with a diversity of partners.
If we want to make our local and global food systems sustainable, we have to create a new economy based on “mindful markets”. This implies: direct collaboration between local producers and consumers, where needed mediated by social enterprises.
An Asia-wide partnership is emerging. It aims at sustainable, just and inspired rural–urban dynamics. In particular the Seikatso Club Cooperative Union
in Japan, Hansalim
in Korea and the Rural Regeneration & Green Development network in China provide convincing examples of local consumer-producer collaboration out-scaled to national and international organisations. An important supporter of the movement in China is the Partnership for Community Development
(PCD), Hongkong. GRAIN
is an important partner organisation
The Mindful Markets programme consists of two annual activities:
- Mindful Markets Asia Forum
- Mindful Markets social enterprise (SE) course
The Mindful Markets Asia Forum provides a platform for professional and vision exchanges for actors in sustainable food systems.
The Mindful Markets social enterprise course brings persons together from all over Asia who are active – as start-ups or in a more advanced stage – in social entrepreneurship related to sustainable food systems. Together they analyse major obstacles and opportunities in the sector and co-design their localized business plans for improvement and out-scaling.