Our Approach

usc our-approach

Building Resilience through Ecological Agriculture

Ecological agriculture, also sometimes referred to as agroecology in academic circles, is the basis of USC Canada’s approach. Ecological agriculture is a way of producing food that respects nature and biodiversity. It blends the eco-friendly practices of small scale family farms with principles of today’s ecological sciences. Working with nature, farmers build independence from costly external seeds and inorganic inputs that are often counterproductive.

USC Canada’s approach recognizes that farmers are local experts. They play as important a role in enhancing productivity as agricultural scientists. Through our programs, participating farmers and scientists work hand-in-hand.

Producers read their landscapes, weather patterns and natural resources carefully –they know the land. With this knowledge, these producers are broadening the diversity of their plant genetic resources. In managing this diversity, farmers are building a production system that is better able to withstand our changing climate and the variability, shocks and extreme weather events it bring with it. A better production system today means food security in their communities tomorrow.

We recognize that traditional local crop varieties are more affordable, often more nutritious and better adapted to challenging growing conditions than varieties not native to a region. Conserving these varieties through use and plant selection is vital to the survival of our planet’s biodiversity. With this in mind, USC Canada takes action in five strategic areas:

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Our Mission 

We promote vibrant family farms, strong rural communities and healthy ecosystems around the world. With engaged Canadians and partners in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, we support programs, training and policies that strengthen biodiversity, food sovereignty and the rights of those at the heart of resilient food systems – women, indigenous peoples and small-scale farmers.

Our Core Values

Rights. Resilience. Respect.

At USC, our work stems from the universal values of equality, justice, peace and dignity for all human beings. To focus our efforts, we apply the principles of Rights, Resilience and Respect; these values are central to our work.


This work is straightforward but hardly easy. People need and deserve their full civil and political rights and freedoms. The challenge is to strengthen legislation to foster just, sustainable change. We work with local organizations overseas to ensure those rights are respected.


Resilience is the capacity both to recover from crisis and to draw on the creativity needed to move forward. Resilient communities recover quickly after crises that aggravate already difficult situations. The challenge is recognizing existing strengths and building on them. The people we work with are active participants because they possess the knowledge needed to solve their problems.


Respect for our global heritage helps us value the diverse experience we all contribute. Only then can we recognize common cause and work towards those goals as equals. The challenge is to develop partnerships based on mutual respect, power-sharing and a common vision. The kind of development we envision holds that people are the agents of their own change.

Read 21783 times Last modified on Sunday, 18 May 2014 16:50

LottaHitschmanova tbnWhat's in a Name?

We’re called USC Canada because we started out way back in 1945 as the Unitarian Service Committee, founded by the energetic Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova. We’re still planting the seeds that Lotta sowed. Find out more about our founder, Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova.



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  • Phone: 1-800-565-6872

USC Canada is a Registered Canadian Charity 11927-6129-RR-0001

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