Dear Friends and Colleagues
Agroecology: A Proven Plan of Action to Ensure Food Security and Sovereignty
Agroecology is necessary for social and ecological transformation and is the best solution to ending hunger and ensuring climate change resilience and environmental sustainability. This is the conclusion of social movements and grassroots organizations that are working on agroecology as captured in anew publication by WhyHunger which shares the perspectives of some of these groups as well as the social, political, cultural, nutritional, and spiritual meaning of agroecology to their communities.
For indigenous people and peasants, agroecology is regarded as a way of life.It frees people from the dangers of chemical pesticides and fertilizers andbrings communities together in the creation of their own solutions to conserve soil and water, and produce healthy food and healthy communities. “A social and political project and methodology enacted at the base in rural communities” which always involves “participatory and local decisions about what, how and when to produce”, it advances the peasant struggle for productive resources and self-determination.In a nutshell: “Food sovereignty is the concept. Agroecology is the plan of action.”
The publication discusses what is necessary to “bring agroecology to scale” which involves scaling upagroecology by increasing research, training, and supportive policies; and scaling outby supporting the dissemination of peasant-led agroecological practices through peasant-to-peasant exchanges and training.
The Preface of the publication is reproduced below.
With best wishes,
AGROECOLOGY – PUTTING FOOD SOVEREIGNTY INTO ACTION
Agroecology is a science and practice defined in the daily lives of millions of families worldwide. It represents both a form of agricultural production and a process for organizing and building community self-determination. As Ibrahima Coulibaly from Mali says, “Agroecology is not an alternative.” This publication shows that agroecology is a way of life and is one of the paths to end hunger and transform society.
Agroecology brings communities together in the creation of their own solutions to produce healthy food and conserve soil and water. Agroecology is based on communities having access to and control of local resources like land, water and seeds and on working toward local food sovereignty. Because it is developed by communities and maintained through democratic social movements, agroecology nourishes the local and global struggle for food sovereignty and climate justice, which is growing more urgent every day. Though agroecology relies on local knowledge and local resources, the efforts to “scale up” and “scale out” agroecology are global. “Scaling up” — increasing support from institutions and policymakers — and “scaling out” — spreading agroecology to other farmers and communities — are critical, and the movement is strengthened through sharing the different practices of agroecology from around the world.
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: