Climate Change

A conversation with Danielle Nierenberg, president of Food Tank


We must engage more women in conversations about climate change, gender equality and agriculture. And that’s exactly what FAO is doing. Last week, another conversation of the HerStory series took place online, with Danielle Nierenberg, President and co-founder of Food Tank. Danielle is a world-renowned researcher, speaker, and advocate on all issues relating to food and agriculture.

The HerStory series is organized as part of FAO's Flexible Multi-partner Mechanism (FMM) 149 project, which promotes gender-responsive climate policies and actions in agriculture and women’s leadership at national, regional, and global levels. The series aims to spark engagement and knowledge-sharing among women, allowing them to share their stories – their road to success and how they navigated and overcame challenges and bias.

The conversation was initiated by Rachel Allen, coordinator of the FMM149 project, followed by a warm welcome given by Lauren Phillips, Deputy Director of the Inclusive Rural Transformation and Gender Equality Division (ESP), who opened the talk by defending the importance of storytelling, stating that, “Still today, storytelling is arguably the most powerful form of communication.” The exciting session was moderated by Tacko Ndiaye, Gender Team Leader (ESP). Charlene Mersai, National Environment Coordinator of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Palau, and one of the upcoming climate negotiators being trained in the FMM149 project, facilitated the questions and answers segment.

Food Tank is a global convener, and thought leadership organization on all agrifood system-related issues. But Food Tank is more than a platform, it works as a safe space where women who are active change-makers can share their stories, to inspire each other. “There is this tendency to reinvent the wheel rather than show what’s already working,” underlined Danielle.

After many years traveling to more than 70 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America, Danielle says it’s crucial to learn from other women’s stories and to connect them. “Whether you are a farmer in Iowa or an urban farmer in Kenya, we are trying to bridge the international and domestic – people have so much to learn from farmers, and especially women farmers who have been constantly fighting the climate crisis.”

“The existence of a global sisterhood is crucial and if we could capture that spirit of empowering each other and putting it into the negotiator’s table, the world would be so much better,” acknowledged Charlene.

Women are overcoming the challenges of climate change on multiple levels – be it on the ground as farmers and young activists, or in the institutions as delegates, policymakers and leaders. “It is essential that this next generation of women in agricultural systems have the same access to resources as males do or we will see hunger, starvation and famine increase,” Danielle passionately stated.

Tacko Ndiaye applauded the necessity of cultivating equality. “An equal partnership should exist between men and women in moving this agenda forward. We should find creative ways to keep engaging men and boys, to advocate for positive change.”

The intersections between gender, climate change, and health are being explored with increasing frequency in the international development agenda, as well as the convergence between issues such as sexism, misogyny, racism and classism. Danielle highlights these inextricable links by expressing her concerns on the rights of women and the importance of sharing stories. “We are not in the business of telling stories, we are in the business of sharing stories. We have to empower ourselves, and make sure we are uplifting and supporting one another.”

Stay tuned for the next conversation for another inspiring story!

Learn more about FMM149 here.

In case you missed the event, you can watch it here.