Introducing CSAL and its Vision

CSAL, an acronym for Community Supported Agroforestry-based Learning, is an integrated launchpad for sustainable growth benefiting a well-defined local community through the participatory development of agroforestry ecosystems. The term agroforestry conventionally refers to integrated ways to combine trees and shrubs with crops and livestock to increase the value of land that is not optimal for growing food and to benefit a diversity of life. More recently this field has been extended to include the integration of land-based and sea-based food systems for long-run food security and food sovereignty.

WILMA believes that many students and teachers with ambitions to lead social change for benefit of their communities will be choosing this study area as fundamental to surmounting the major plights of our planet, namely the interconnected problems of food, energy, water, and climate change, in addition to creating jobs and income. WILMA is part of the Global CSAL Network that promotes the creation and growth of CSAL Programs that improve community wellness at the most local level. An example is our proposed CSAL Program for the Tanzanian District of Karagwe. Our motto is "learning integrated with earning." CSAL Programs may take root and thrive anywhere in the world, most readily where trust-based social relationships make "community" a viable asset for collective action and shared progress.

Traditional cultures may be the most fertile. Native (or indigenous) peoples around the world, having well-defined lands, deep cultural roots in the land, and natural resources that they aim to protect and develop, are in a position to be pioneers of the forthcoming global struggle to preserve, rebuild, and enhance the planet's natural environment in the face of challenges arising from human degradation. The stakes are high: sustaining the quality of life for a diversity of living beings. These communities stand to prosper from this leadership, while preserving the cherished roots of their culture. People who have migrated (physically, socially, mentally, and spiritually) far from natural values will benefit also, because the results for the commons are inherently shared. Leaders of these native peoples have an opportunity to make a difference in their own communities and to demonstrate what can be done globally.