Amanda is EcoAgriculture’s newest Communications Intern. With her experience, enthusiasm and creative ideas, she supports the communication team by producing material for the website, blog, social media, flyers, newsletters, articles and brochures.
EcoAg: Tell us a bit about yourself and your background
Amanda: I was born in Sweden and grew up in Sweden, Spain and the UK. Moving as a child and learning various languages at an early age made me fascinated by the intricacies of cultures. As soon as I could, I fled the nest to travel the world. It was in India when I landed at Vandana Shiva’s farm, Navdanya, in 2008 where I encountered biodynamic farming and I first got my hands dirty. It was love at first sight! My mode of traveling changed; my life became a continuous farming opportunity as I traveled the world through WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms).
As a student, I became active in the urban farming scene in Amsterdam. I founded and co-ran Op de Valreep Tuin (an urban community garden project in Amsterdam) and was also active volunteering at my University Garden. I obtained my Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) in 2011, co-taught a PDC course in 2013 and have given numerous Permaculture and urban farming workshops.
This inspired me to write my BA thesis on the politics of seed and seed saving, and to completing an agroecological training in small-scale goat herding and cheese making with Escola de Pastors de Catalunya, in 2016, before eventually founding Castellar Pueblo, the sustainability project where I now live, farm and create.
Being a social scientist, my agricultural interest comes intermingled with how cultures embed understandings of food and how the body is central to how we relate to nature. In 2016 – 2017 I worked together with Prof. Patrick Devlieger from the University of Leiden, the Netherlands; Beatriz Miranda from 17; Instituto de Teoria Crítica; and World Access for the Blind, to set up a research project studying the sensory ability of blind small-scale farmers. Living with reduced eyesight myself affects the way I farm and engage with nature. Even though I had spent time on farms, when I finally moved to Castellar Pueblo and took the goat herding training, I really challenged (and questioned!) the limits of my visual abilities. It wasn’t easy but I learned that with great hiking shoes, a bit of creativity, courage and support, and by walking paths many times you learn to adapt to your surroundings. In the end, barriers are mostly in the mind.
EcoAg: What are some of the reasons you’re excited to work with EcoAgriculture?
Amanda: I love that EcoAgriculture is so ambitious with revolutionary approaches to collaboration and communication. I find it essential not to impose change but to facilitate locals to create it. I have just finished my second semester of the MA Communication for Development at Malmö University where there was much emphasis on existing tendencies of reproducing colonial relations in today’s development context. EcoAgriculture Partners is clearly taking avid steps away from these tendencies in very innovative ways. It gives me hope that we can achieve great things!
I am also very excited to be able to further my knowledge in Communication for Development. My work with Green Exchange made me see the potential of effective and creative communication strategies for social change. I love the potential of interactive and dynamic ways of communicating to make the debate surrounding the environment more inclusive and engaging. For instance, podcasting is a wonderful way to make people living with reduced eyesight participant of the climate debate. Comics can be a means of integrating people living with an intellectual disability or to accommodate illiteracy. The issue at stake is so urgent that we need clear, effective and engaging ways to communicate what our Earth is going through and how we can change our behavior to be more environmentally friendly.