We Feed the World explored the extraordinary stories of 50 communities around the world, featuring small-scale farmers and fishers from across the globe who are using regenerative techniques to nurture biocultural diversity. Launched in 2018, We Feed the World brought the efforts of these individuals and communities to light in the context of current challenges – from land-grabbing to deforestation – calling for global support of small-scale, agroecological farming. We are often told by corporations, governments and the media that without a high-tech, chemically intensive industrial food system, we would soon starve. We Feed The World cut through this misinformation to creatively tell the stories of the farmers and fishers who really feed the world. 

Recognising that this is an ongoing journey, and with the imminent launch of We Feed The UK, we recently revisited some of the individuals and communities featured in the original campaign to find out where they are now, and bring you updates on their stories… 


Photograph by Spencer Murphy

In the Sierra de las Nieves mountain range of Andalucia, Alonso Navarro runs a small  biodynamic seed company, preserving the legacy of his ancestors.  A passionate seed saver, he is president of RAS, the Red Andaluza de Semillas (Andalusian Seed Network), a volunteer led network of 160 farmers and growers who preserve thousands of varieties of Andalusian vegetables.

With the advent of the ‘Green Revolution’, the industrialisation of agriculture and the continued erosion of rural society, Andalusia has lost over 90% of its seed diversity. Spain is also the only country in the EU which, for some years, has allowed the commercial use of transgenic crops.  

Coming from a family of farmers and witnessing agriculture change since his youth, Alonso has striven to create alternatives through his business and work with RAS to preserve seed diversity.

He says, “from the innocent practice of harvesting, we conserve a whole culture in our own hands. This knowledge was passed down to us from our grandparents and these seeds are transitory, passing from generation to generation, in a journey through history.” 

Andalusia experiences long periods of extreme temperatures, often above 40 degrees Celsius. In the past ten years Alonso, in collaboration with various groups, universities and farmers, has been experimenting in cereal farming with drought tolerant varieties Through much trial and error, he, and the group of farmers he works with, have managed to recuperate fifty traditional Andalusian cereal and field legume varieties. Many of these varieties are landraces, bred and maintained on Andalusian soil over time to tolerate the extreme conditions without the need for synthetic fertilisers and pesticides.  


Now, Alonso and the organisation he helped found, Grupo de Acción Compartida de Serranía de Ronda (GAC), are working towards a new goal. Having experimented for more than a decade producing Andalusian cereal varieties and then transforming them into flour and bread, they are now hoping to make these varieties available to the public through the creation of a regional mill. This mill will specially serve farmers producing these native varieties and transform them into flour for local people to use. Alonso and GAC have been working with several local bakeries, and have found a local market, but to be commercially viable and to encourage other farmers to adopt Andalusian cereal varieties, they need to scale up. The new mill will hopefully provide an important agroecological alternative to farmers stuck in the cycles of industrial grain production, dependent on yearly loans for expensive fertilisers, pesticides and hybrid seeds.

In his own words Alonso says, “We want to make the flavour and quality of the diverse flours of yesteryear available to Andalusians once again”. He highlights that “the needs to which this project responds are equally diverse: the health of our soils, decent prices for farmers, the demographic challenge, food sovereignty, the promotion of biodiversity and the fight against global warming”. 

GAC have secured land and a building to rent, and are now fundraising to cover startup costs for the regional mill. They hope to raise enough for one year of equipment, wages for mill workers and a mill manager, after which the mill will cover its own costs.