The end of 2017 was a busy time for Shumei International – and a collaborative one. While Alice Cunningham, the executive director of International Affairs, participated in the IFOAM World Congress in India on advancing organic farming around the world, Shumei representatives attended the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference (COP 23) in Bonn, Germany.
At the COP 23, Shumei International partnered with a number of organizations to put a spotlight on the critical importance of harmony with nature. On 13 November, Shumei co-sponsored Honoring the Earth: Reclaiming the Sacred, an official side event in partnership with the Global Peace Initiative of Women and Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association.
Honoring the Earth shed light on how a shift in mindset could help us tackle climate change more effectively. Barbara Hachipuka Banda, the director of the Natural Agriculture Development Program Zambia spoke about the benefits of working in harmony with nature rather than against it, and the importance of the special relationship farmers have with the Earth. She shared how Natural Agriculture taught farmers to get back in touch with their indigenous wisdom, which recognizes the sacredness of nature.
In addition to the side event, Shumei co-organized a special networking session, Speed Up the Cool Down, in partnership with IFOAM Organics International, Biovision, Regeneration International, and Terra Genesis. The gathering was held at the IFOAM Organics International headquarters in Bonn with the Farming for Biodiversity Solution Search finalists, government officials, international agriculture organizations, farmers, women’s and indigenous rights activists and food security advocates to accelerate connections and collaborations. The event highlighted the growing regenerative and natural agriculture movement to increase carbon-soil sequestration through agricultural practices that improve soil health and fertility.
Shumei has been participating in the UN Climate Change conferences for a several years. However, this was the first time it has collaborated on events at the COP to promote both inner and outer solutions to climate change with so many partners. It was a welcome integration as governments take on both these approaches to tackling the crisis. For example, the India Pavilion offered Yoga every day to promote sustainable lifestyles and the France Pavilion hosted a session on “Hope in the Soil” to unlock the potential of regenerative agriculture. It was clear that we must work together – with each other and with Nature.