The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

“America Can Be Too Proud”

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In keeping with today’s theme, here’s an article by Carole Motsinger about the Asheville based non-profit Global International that is focused on investing in long-term customized solutions created by local communities. Christopher Sacco, the co-founder and director of Groundswell International, who lived in Ecuador for eight years notes,  “One thing that I realize after this latest financial crisis is that we have a lot to learn from developing countries.”

I’m proud to be an American. That said, America can be too proud.
Our country has a tendency to not look outside the borders for wisdom and solutions — sometimes I feel the only time we do look at developing countries is to look down on them.
Christopher Sacco, the co-founder and director of Groundswell International, an Asheville-based global nonprofit focused on strengthening community organizations and training leaders, knows firsthand how much the United States can learn from other parts of the world. And he’s inviting Asheville to access this global classroom, so to speak, through free, facilitated discussion at UNC Asheville on solutions to major issues impacting the global food and agriculture system.
“The majority of our Groundswell partners are international organizations and people,” he said, noting he lived in Ecuador for about eight years. “One thing that I realize after this latest financial crisis is that we have a lot to learn from developing countries.”
Five global leaders in community-led rural development will share their on-the-ground experiences in Haiti, Ecuador, and West Africa. Topics will include community-led rural development, the importance of strong local seed systems in preserving biodiversity and food sovereignty, strategies for resilience to climate change, and food crises and the role of women farmers in rural development.
Focusing on creating long-term solutions to overcome poverty, inequality and ecological destruction through healthy farming and food systems, Groundswell International opened its global coordination office in January in Asheville. Founded in 2009 and originally based in Washington, Groundswell supports community organizing in rural areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America to build healthy farming and food systems from the bottom up.
The public event coincides with the organization’s annual gathering Sept. 16-20. The event draws both global and local experts in agroecology and rural development to share innovations and best practices, as well as coordinate actions to affect global change. (Local organizations involved include Blue Ridge Food Ventures, Farmer’s Daughter Catering, Sow True Seed and UNCA’s “Food for Thought” interdisciplinary course cluster.)
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Author: Daniela

I was born in Croatia, at that time Yugoslavia. My family moved to the US when I was very young, but I still treasure the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to protect myself against the "evil eye," my grandmother shopping early every morning, at the open air market, to buy the freshest vegetables for the day's meals, and the traditions that were the underpinnings of our society. Someone once noted that "For all of us that want to move forward, there are a very few that want to keep the old methods of production, traditions and crafts alive." I am a fellow traveler with those who value the old traditions and folk wisdom. I believe the knowledge they possess can contribute significantly to our efforts to build a more sustainable world; one that values the individual over the corporation, conservation over growth and happiness over wealth.

One thought on ““America Can Be Too Proud”

  1. Nice post to supplement the theme you raised on ‘a problem with arrogance’! I *do* think there’s growing reflective interest within the culture generally – the criticism that we don’t look outside our borders for creative solutions has been ‘out there’ for awhile, (I’ve heard it over and over re health care). I think its woven into some conversations on the Syrian situation as well. … evidence that ‘global connectivity’ and interest in one another’s ‘ordinary life circumstances’ is an inevitable development in human maturing?? I hope so!! Very encouraging! (Maybe I’ll sleep through the night tonight – woke up at 4:30 this am with Syrian people on my mind and couldn’t get back to sleep!)

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