Celebrating 20 years of LEISA India – the product, the process and the movement
It all started in 1998. We started with just distributing quarterly ILEIA Newsletter to Indian readers, around 1000. Within a year, we got ambitious. After releasing a couple of Indian supplements, in the year 1999, we started publishing a full fledged Indian English edition – LEISA India. Since then, LEISA India has become one of the most preferred magazines for sharing practical field based ecological experiences. Published four times in an year, the magazine includes a combination of global and Indian experiences.
All along, we believed that it is not just a publication but a knowledge exchange movement. We forged a consortium of like minded partners consisting of GEAG, Kudumbam and Myrada to explore ways of strengthening knowledge building as well as sharing. Recognising systematic documentation as a crucial necessity for sharing field experiences, in early 2000, LEISA India team successfully guided the consortium for two years on systematic documentation and knowledge management. Also, LEISA India team of AME Foundation, on its own and in collaboration with ILEIA, guided several national and international documentation initiatives with international partners like MISEREOR, Caritas, as well as FAO.
In an effort to reach out to more number of readers, especially the grassroots, in 2009, we launched three language editions – Hindi, Kannada and Tamil, in collaboration with our consortium partners, GEAG, Mitramadhyama Trust and Kudumbam. In 2010, we further spread to Telugu edition and in collaboration with our Odiya partner, ORRISSA we started the Odiya language edition. We further spread our outreach in 2014 to Marathi and Punjabi readers with help of Yuva Rural Association and Khethi Virasat Mission, respectively. Currently, the magazine is being produced in seven languages – Hindi, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Marathi, Punjabi and Oriya. All the editions put together reaches more than 22000 readers across the country. Besides the print edition, the digital edition and the social media have helped in reaching out to many more interested in ecological agriculture.
The magazine is popular for its practical content. Our readers surveys and impact studies reveal extensive use of the magazine for field purposes, training, policy support as well as further sharing within their own networks.
To create a platform for sharing experiences from the field is never easy for the Editors. Being a thematic magazine, the experience to be shared has to be suitable for the theme of the magazine. It has to be sourced from those active in the field. It has to reflect deep insights and learnings on field realities and alternatives. It has to be written by practitioners who seldom write. In this challenging scenario, we deeply acknowledge the commitment and enthusiasm of all our readers and authors who have been supporting the magazine as well as promoting wider sharing, thus strengthening an alternative paradigm of agroecological movement.
LEISA India has spearheaded significantly several themes and movements like SRI, International Year of Family Farming etc. LEISA India programme has also brought out several products like calendars and posters to popularise LEISA Movement. LEISA India, a member of global Agricultures Network, has been part of international deliberations and exchanges in partnership with partners in Latin America, Brazil, Africa and Asia and Europe through Agricultures Network. A small programme has thus transformed into a movement, ably supported by DGIS (through ILEIA), IDRC for a brief while and MISEREOR, since 2011.
Humbly continuing…to be relevant and useful.