Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

16 October 2021

World Food Day

Marta Segovia

“Family farmers often work alone, but if farmers, extension workers and institutions work together, the community can benefit in many ways.”


Marta Segovia, a family farmer and community leader is empowering her peers to promote better growth, autonomy and well-being. Through participation in local fairs, Marta has expanded her access to markets, diversified her crops and increased productivity, actively contributing to food security in her community. 

While family farms produce more than 80 percent of the world's food, they are often the ones most at risk of climate and economic shocks. Crop diversification and sustainable agricultural practices can improve livelihoods and make food systems more resilient. 

Affected by a deep economic crisis, Marta and Fermín (her life partner) took the initiative to join a local fair where they worked with other producers to build their knowledge, capacities and market potential. 

“Over the years, as I diversified my production, I learned with and from my peers and local extension workers. Today I have more than 15 varieties of healthy foods including vegetables”. 

Marta has started to practice crop association on her farm, growing for example corn, peanuts and squash all together. Crop association reduces dependency on one crop while improving soil fertility, helping to fight pests, diseases and weed growth, among other benefits. Marta is sharing her skills and knowledge with other producers, contributing to the autonomy and growth of the group. 

“The interaction with other stakeholders is very important and it has allowed us to improve production together. But to get there we had to grow, learn to take care of our space, assert our knowledge and feel empowered to resolve tensions with institutions”. 

Marta's experience underscores how participation in farmer organizations and local initiatives creates knowledge, generates social capital, and builds more resilient food systems. 

"It helped us to value our work, to gain institutional recognition and the trust of consumers." 

This food heroin's collaborative approach with her fellow producers contributes to food sovereignty in her community by producing healthy products through chemical-free processes and using technologies that protect agrobiodiversity and boost the income of family producers.