Strong leaders, resilient communities, and sustainable management are key to food and economic security.


Small-scale fishers and smallholder farmers are integral to healthy global food systems and the backstop to local food supply and nutrition. They provide vital food and income for rural communities and local markets, contribute to inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and can play a key role in ensuring local protection of high-biodiversity ecosystems.

The tight interconnection between smallholder producers and natural resources means that overfishing, deforestation, climate change, and other human activity have direct impacts on their local food supply and livelihoods. Empowering small-scale fishers and smallholder farmers to manage and protect the coral reefs, mangrove forests, soil, and water on which they depend is critical to creating a more food-secure world—a world that can balance effective protection with sustainable production.

Our Approach

Rare works with rural communities and their local governments to adopt more sustainable and effective natural resource management. We do this by focusing on local actions and behaviors that can improve productivity while also benefiting the environment. Our goal is to help communities safeguard their livelihoods, ensure reliable food sources, and provide an essential buffer against external shocks like climate change. This work is more important than ever as communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts.

Our people-centered approach, rooted in behavioral and social science, helps communities break down these complex problems and take actions to improve productivity, safeguard critical ecosystems, and conserve soil and water.


 

How We’re Securing Food Systems

 

Colombian farmer reading soil cardThe cumulative power of individual actions: Inspiring everyone from fishers and farmers to local governments and businesses to adopt sustainable practices.

Individual and collective behaviors play a significant role in balancing effective protection with sustainable production.

Fish Forever empowers communities to co-manage their fisheries with their local government and establish networks of fully-protected reserves to sustain their fishing grounds. The program coordinates this approach by building collective action and political support among neighboring villages and across networks local governments to protect and manage entire coastlines. Such work secures the food supply and livelihoods for hundreds of thousands of rural households.

Lands for Life works with local agricultural agents and smallholder farmers to improve land health, strengthen their agricultural extension systems, and build capacity for effective local management.  The program equips these stakeholders with climate-smart agricultural practices, like composting, to reduce their impacts on the land.

The Center for Behavior & the Environment (BE.Center) trains environmental practitioners around the world in Behavior-Centered Design to maximize the impact of their work. In addressing food security, the BE.Center has partnered with universities, philanthropists, and certified B Corp businesses to help them reduce food waste – an often-overlooked but major contributor to both food insecurity and greenhouse gas emissions around the world.


woman planting mangrove treesBuilding the resilience of people and nature.

Investing in people and nature as solutions to food insecurity builds social, ecological, and economic resilience to this threat.

Fish Forever empowers fishing communities with the knowledge, tools, and awareness to protect the coral reefs, mangrove forests, and seagrass beds on which they depend.

Lands for Life empowers farming communities with the knowledge, tools, and awareness to protect the land, ecosystems, and crops upon which they depend.


cornSurfacing, spotlighting, and accelerating proven and promising food security solutions.

Solution Search identifies how behavioral insights can help solve the world’s most challenging environmental problems.

Solution Search, an initiative of the Center for Behavior & the Environment, has facilitated two contests to uncover behavioral approaches that reduce the impacts of unsustainable fishing and farming practices: Farming for Biodiversity and Turning the Tide for Coastal Fisheries. These contests have uncovered solutions and innovations that set the stage for training leaders and changing behaviors in communities around the world.