AGROECOLOGY – PUTTING FOOD SOVEREIGNTY INTO ACTION
This publication is not a technical guide to agroecology. It does not discuss or share the science behind agroecological farming, and it does not include examples of farming practices. This publication does not try to present agroecology as a new technological fix or as a set of farming practices that can be learned and replicated with a “how to” manual. Instead, this publication shares the perspectives of members of social movements and grassroots organizations that are building agroecology and highlights the social, political, cultural, nutritional, and spiritual meaning of agroecology to their communities.
La Via Campesina, a global social movement, says, “the origin of agroecology is the accumulated knowledge of rural people, systematized and further developed through a dialogue of different kinds of knowledge: scientific knowledge, knowledge of organizing communities, and the everyday practical knowledge of agroecology and food production.” This publication embodies the ongoing dialogue of grassroots knowledge and features peasant and indigenous men, women, and youth who are the stewards of agroecology in the US and the Global South. Agroecology belongs to communities, so we hope that the knowledge summarized here will help to generate dialogue in other communities and among consumers and food producers. And further we hope this publication will expand our collective struggle for justice and international solidarity and support the leadership of communities around the world facing the impacts of the commodification of food and the growing influence of international agribusinesses in our food system.
"Scaling Up" Agroecology
The question of how agroecology can make an impact at a greater scale has been at the center of the debates among NGOs, scholars, and policymakers at national and international levels. The question of how to increase the number of people and places impacted by agroecology everyday is important, and we must recognize that peasant and small farmer communities are at the center of agroecology, both as a science and as a way of life. Bringing agroecology to scale means both “scaling up” and “scaling out” agroecology — scaling up agroecology by increasing research, training, and supportive policies; and scaling out by supporting the dissemination of peasant-led agroecological practices through peasant-to-peasant exchanges and training. Specifically, scaling agroecology up and out needs:
· Increased funding for social movements’ priorities.
· Support for the rights to land, seeds, and water of local communities.
· Substantial government commitment, away from policies that subsidize international agribusinesses and toward significant funding for technical assistance for farmers; farmer-led research of agroecological practices; and basic infrastructure of roads, schools, and other services still lacking in many rural communities.
· Democratic reviews of free trade agreements and other international agreements that disregard and even curb farmers’ rights to multiply, store, and share seeds.