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  • Sumeeta Gawande

SESA, GSG College and Sterling College Join Forces to Combat Climate Crisis in Central India

Updated: Feb 8, 2022

SESA and GSG College have joined four other worldwide communities as part of EcoGather, a Sterling College initiative to battle ecological and economic crisis brought on by climate change and disruptive farming practices.

EcoGather, an initiative by Sterling College, will bring together five partnering communities from around the world in an effort to share knowledge, ideas and generational agroecological framing practices aimed at combating the forces of climate change and its effects on food supply both locally and on a worldwide basis.

Each of the five partners currently serve communities that face significant challenges when it comes to economic stability and food security and each have already begun programs and initiatives to help address these challenges. EcoGather will combine Sterling College’s extensive remote educational tools with the knowledge of its partnership communities to create modular online courses focused on building and sustaining communities through regenerative farming practices, effective food systems, and community well-being. In addition to SESA, the initial EcoGather network partners are: the Gross National Happiness Center Bhutan, FrontLine Farming of Colorado, the Puerto Rico Trust for Science, Research and Technology, and The Center for an Agricultural Economy in Vermont.

Nicole Civita

EcoGather will be led by Nicole Civita, Sterling’s Vice President of Strategic Initiatives. This platform was made possible through a $1.5 million grant received by Sterling College. In the future, the online courses will be made available worldwide in order to expand it’s reach and impact.

SESA will be collaborating with EcoGather to expand its Maati-Paani-Asha Center (“MPA Center”) initiative. Over 300,000 farmers have taken their lives in India over the last 20 years. The epicenter of farmer suicide is in eastern Maharashtra, one of the most severely food insecure regions in the world. The purpose of the MPA Center initiative is to break the vicious, interconnected & reinforcing cycles of climate change, environmental depletion, and poverty and, instead, establish cycles of regeneration, self-sufficiency, food security, and hope (irrespective of gender, economic status or caste) through several agroecological, technological, and educational initiatives that can be implemented locally and globally.

“EcoGather will accelerate our efforts to reclaim indigenous knowledge as the foundation of a viable agrarian society in this region of India,” says Sumeeta Gawande, Director of Student and Education Support Association and co-creator of the Maati Paani Asha Center. “It will enable us to support farmers in transitioning to agroecological methods that regenerate soil, water, and hope — Maati Paani Asha. These vital components must be restored so that our community can increase its resilience in the face of climate volatility, drought, and other shocks, such as the pandemic that has caused so much devastation in our region.”

For more information about Sterling’s EcoGather program and to see profiles of the partner communities, visit

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