Invitation to workshop on:


A challenge for local communities worldwide


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What is it about?

According to conservative estimates, approximately one billion people, about 1/8 of the world population (Gawora 2011) live in local communities that organize their way of life and economy based on traditional values and beliefs. The lands and forests they manage often feature high degrees of agro- and biodiversity, high CO2storage capacities, and low rates of deforestation. Against the backdrop of the global sustainability crisis, local communities may, therefore, offer guiding principles for alternative modes of living and economy (UN Convention on Biodiversity). However, the global phenomenon of “land grabbing” increasingly threatens the existence of local communities, because financially strong actors exploit traditional territories in order to make more profits. This implies a fundamental change from perceiving land as a resource for local subsistence to a resource for capital investment. This turn often comes with challenges like the loss of food sovereignty due to the industrialization of agricultural land management and the globalization of value chains, a decrease of biodiversity, and increasing use of harmful pesticides.

We invite scientists, local communities and civil society organizations to participate in our interdisciplinary workshop aiming at finding solutions to these problems. So far, the phenomenon of land grabbing is mainly perceived as a problem of the global south. However, it has become increasingly relevant in the European context, too. Moreover, not only powerful international corporations but often regional and national actors push the commodification of smaller pieces of land little by little. This is what we call “micro land grabbing”. The workshop will focus on these recent observations and deepen the understanding of micro land grabbing as well as develop strategies to face it.


What are our aims?

  • Increase awareness for micro land grabbing
  • Share experiences and develop common strategies to deal with challenges
  • Strengthen alliances between science, local communities, and civil society organizations


Who can participate?

Our participants represent or work with local communities in the global north (e.g. Italy, Austria) and south (e.g. Brasil, Malawi), either being:

  • Open session: everyone interested in micro land grabbing
  • Closed sessions: participants of the workshop on micro land grabbing and related network (NGOs, local communities, activists)

           → members of local communities and local administration

           → scientists and university students or

           → representatives of civil society organizations.  


Who are we?

The organizing board involves scientists, representatives of civil society organizations, and local community members. The main organizers are Carolin Holtkamp, Markus Schermer, Tina Jahn, and Martin Coy from the Universität of Innsbruck, Dieter Gawora from the University of Kassel, Carlotta Schlosser from the Dreikönigsaktion Innsbruck, Armin Bernhard from the “Bürgergenossenschaft” in Mals, and Zakaria Faustin as well as Daniel Ouma from Tanzanian Natural Ressource Forum. We all have a common interest in local communities and the aim of social transformation towards food sovereignty in the rural space.


Workshop - preliminary agenda


Friday, 22ndof January, ZOOM, 12:00-16:00 UTC

  • 12:00 – 13:30 (open access): Presentation of comparative study on micro land grabbing and local communities 
  • 14:00 - 16:00 UTC (closed session): Sharing challenges and strategies of resistance


Saturday, 23rdof January, ZOOM, 12:00-16:00 UTC

  • 12:00 - 15:00 UTC (closed session): Creating strategies and alliances against lang grabbing
  • 15:30 – 16:00 UTC (closed session): Presentation of workshop results


 (Brasília/Buenos Aires 9:00-13:00; Berlin/Rome/Vienna 13:00-17:00; Kiev/ Lilongwe/Lusaka 14:00-18:00; Dodoma/Neirobi 15:00-17:00; New Dehli 16:30-20:30; Phnom Penh 18:00-22:00).




Micro.Land.Grabbing. A Challenge for Local Communities Worldwide - Documentation

- BGO. Alternative economic and cultural activities 
CAA. Legal activities and alliances
TNRF. Awareness and capacity building  





For further questions, please contact:

Carolin Holtkamp

The University of Innsbruck, Department of Sociology


+43 (0)512/507-73414 (mon-thu: 2-5:30pm)



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