Family Farming & Food Systems

TR_food_policies TR_food_practices
ILC played a role in these changes. Continue reading the report to find out how.

Between 70-80 percent of world farmland consists of family farms, producing more than 70 percent of the world’s food.

Strong small-scale farming systems are vital to humanity’s food security. Yet many family farmers and small-scale producers live in, or on the edge of, poverty. Land rights can be the key to securing better livelihoods for them and their families, and to keep their knowledge and custodianship of the land at the heart of our food systems, for the health of humanity and the planet.

Notable highlights

  • 3 independent dialogues held as part of the UN Food Systems Summit
  • 19 NES platforms engaged with the UN Decade of Family Farming, and 7 countries adopted family farming policies as a result


As soon as COVID-19 hit, it was important for us to pay tribute to the family farmers and smallholders in our Coalition who are working tirelessly to keep food systems supplied with healthy, sustainable produce. current Even as the crisis had a direct impact on land rights. Meet some of them in this video.

The UN Decade of Family Farming, 2019-2028

"The Decade is for all those working and promoting family farming in the world. It is not the property of any group of organisations alone. There are national committees and farmers’ organisations on the ground, and they have their agendas and priorities. The Decade is a tool to promote these objectives. What we have done is create an opportunity, but it is a first step and now is when the hard work starts. Now we need to make these 10 years into a positive change for family farmers.” - Auxtin Ortiz, World Rural Forum.

When the UN General Assembly voted to recognise the Decade of Family Farming, it aimed to generate new political commitment to supporting family farmers. ILC members, including National Land Coalitions and intergovernmental members such as IFAD and FAO, are among those bringing awareness of these vital producers to the international stage. With ILC support, through 3 regional platforms, members are together advocating and working for the implementation of the Decade Action Plan. This rich collaboration between members and partners contributed to the approval of seven national plans under the UNDFF in the Dominican Republic, the Gambia, Indonesia, Peru, Costa Rica, Nepal and Panama.

By the end of 2020, 19 NES platforms had engaged with the UNDFF and seven countries had adopted family farming policies thanks to these joint efforts.


The International Land Coalition together with the Geneva Academy pulled together an easy-to-use manual for ILC members and the broader land community on how we can ensure the implementation of UNDROP. It is also a tool to ensure the right to land is present in strategies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in the UN Decade of Family Farming.

From abandoned land to urban farming

Member Story

“My hope is that what we are doing will still have a long term impact, even though it might end at some point. There are so many different things that could be done on unused public land, I wish the city would see it.”

Read Story

In Italy, as in many parts of the world, pressure on agricultural land from real-estate development and industry is high. One organisation bucking the trend is Lentamente Cooperativa Agricola, a social farming cooperative and ILC member that has been giving new life to abandoned public land in the area through social farming activities with the local community.

Land owners often prefer to keep their land, even if they don’t use it in any way, just because they are waiting for someone to buy it and build a parking lot or apartment blocks. The potential financial return is more important,” says Donato De Marco, founder of Lentamente

Case Study

Keeping land rights central to building sustainable food systems at the UN Summit

Land is one of the core elements of food systems from its production to waste management. ILC made a number of efforts to make sure that adequate focus is given to the centrality of land in building future sustainable food systems in the outcomes of the UN Food Systems Summit.

Together with our co-convenors, we held three regional independent dialogues, engaging a total of 280 land rights experts from our respective networks. The purpose was to collect ideas for potential game-changing and systemic solutions to bring to the UN Food Systems Summit.

With this in mind ILC continues to work with the action track IV of the summit: Advance Equitable Livelihoods, and officially registered a commitment with the Summit to continue to work on land issues in building sustainable food systems.


A human rights approach

Building sustainable food systems starts with respecting, protecting and fulfilling the human rights of people who live on and from the land.

Rebalance power

Tackle discriminatory cultural norms and practices which hinder women’s equal access to and control over land, and their decision making over local food systems.

Transparency and accountability

Avoid ‘farming without farmers’ and the corporatisation of agriculture by increasing transparency and accountability of land investments, ensuring that the social and environmental value of land is prioritised.

Protect access to commons

As part of securing food systems of local communities, including the recognition of pastoralists as food producers.

Recognise indigenous rights

Recognise indigenous peoples’ territories and customary land governance systems, as well as their contribution to mitigate climate change, and restore ecosystems.

Download the dialogue reports here.

ILC director Mike Taylor is a champion of the UN Food System Summit, a recognition of the entire ILC network for its ongoing work on land and food systems. ILC made efforts to assure that centrality of land is part and parcel of the priorities of the Summit, its outcomes and the related ongoing work, including developing a joint op-ed with the Summit’s Special Envoy, Dr. Agnes Kalibata.

OPINION: Land rights for small producers: a critical solution to the world's food systems

Summit’s Special Envoy, Dr. Agnes Kalibata and ILC's Secretariat Director, Michael Taylor

read it now



ILC Learning Hub

#Asia #Farmers, Peasants, Forest Dwellers #Knowledge and information management #Land policy and multi-stakeholder dialogue #Legal assistance, legal empowerment and access to justice #2. Strong small-scale farming systems #4. Equal Land Rights for Women #8. Transparent and accessible information #India

toolkit 2.png
ILC Learning Hub

#Global #Knowledge and information management #Jordan #Advocacy & campaigning #Application of laws, guidelines & standards #2. Strong small-scale farming systems #Toolkits #Farmers, Peasants, Forest Dwellers #Cameroon #Guatemala #India #Indonesia #Mauritania #Nicaragua #Senegal #IFAD #DQLCC #SARRA #MBOSCUDA #KPA #TRÓCAIRE

Ecosystems & Climate Crisis
Continue reading
Image of Amina Amharech
Currently Reading
Family Farming & Food Systems

Through Amina Amharech's perspective

Change guide
Other chapters