Increasing weather risks threaten agricultural production systems and food security across the world. Maintaining agricultural growth while minimizing climate shocks is crucial to building a resilient food production system and meeting developmental goals in vulnerable countries. Experts have proposed several technological, institutional, and policy interventions to help farmers adapt to current and future weather variability and to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This paper presents the climate-smart village (CSV) approach as a means of performing agricultural research for development that robustly tests technological and institutional options for dealing with climatic variability and climate change in agriculture using participatory methods. It aims to scale up and scale out the appropriate options and draw out lessons for policy makers from local to global levels. The approach incorporates evaluation of climate-smart technologies, practices, services, and processes relevant to local climatic risk management and identifies opportunities for maximizing adaptation gains from synergies across different interventions and recognizing potential maladaptation and trade-offs. It ensures that these are aligned with local knowledge and link into development plans. This paper describes early results in Asia, Africa, and Latin America to illustrate different examples of the CSV approach in diverse agroecological settings. Results from initial studies indicate that the CSV approach has a high potential for scaling out promising climate-smart agricultural technologies, practices, and services. Climate analog studies indicate that the lessons learned at the CSV sites would be relevant to adaptation planning in a large part of global agricultural land even under scenarios of climate change. Key barriers and opportunities for further work are also discussed.