What is our mission?
To help those tackling and studying the negative impacts of global industrial food animal production (especially in low- and middle-income countries) gain the clearer, firmer, deeper understanding that is needed in order to address this complex problem.
Why focus on the need for deeper understanding?
Inadequate understanding about the global dimension of the problem and the situations in low- and middle-income countries where large-scale animal agriculture and aquaculture is gaining momentum severely handicaps the search for realistic and long-lasting solutions.
At present there is no systematic and focused effort aimed at fostering deep understanding of the entire range of issues involved. (Industrial animal agriculture is more than a mere environmental or animal welfare issue. It is tied up with international trade regulations, government agriculture policies, and more.) The need is seriously neglected.
Improving one’s understanding is challenging. First, there are many issues that are desperately difficult to unravel. Second, it requires an unusual mix of know-hows. And very few have the appetite for this kind of work which sounds nebulous and can take a long time to bear fruit. But it is a good fit for Tiny Beam Fund.
How do we address this need for deeper understanding?
We address this need for deeper understanding by emphasizing three kinds of objectives and activities:
- Help front line persons pin down the most important practical things that they don’t understand by first asking them to articulate the key burning questions that they want answered, then assisting them to prioritize the entire pool of questions.
- Make use of the strengths of the academic research sector. Enlist the help of academic researchers to shed light on front-line persons’ burning questions and perplexities. Motivate academic researchers to build an active interest in studying the problem and using the findings to assist front-line persons.
- Translate high quality academic research relevant to front-line persons’ burning questions into plain language and put it into the hands of these persons.
Why is gaining a deeper understanding of the problem so challenging?
A host of fiendishly complex issues need to be understood. A multitude of unanswered questions still exist. There is no clear roadmaps, not enough robust data, and no extensive pools of networks and allies.
Who are the “front-line persons” we engage with?
The term “front-line persons” is used as shorthand to refer to an assortment of persons who are trying to grapple with various complex negative impacts of large-scale animal agriculture, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
Why collect and focus on front-line persons’ questions?
Actual questions asked by actual persons render what needs to be “understood” and “deepened” tangible. Asking important questions is a tried and proven technique. Questions invite discussions and exploration. Inviting a host of different front-line persons to provide and share their questions is more “participatory” than having a few individuals make all the decisions; it also encourages cross-pollination among all the participants.
Why put so much emphasis on academic researchers?
Tiny Beam Fund believes that the academic research sector has the potential to be of considerable help (directly and indirectly) to those tackling global industrial food animal production. But steps need to be taken to turn this potential into real benefits for front-line persons.