Title of document: Farming Matters - Making the case for Agroecology
Issue: N° 32.3
Publisher: Farming Matters is published by ILEIA, the centre for learning on sustainable agriculture. ILEIA is a member of the AgriCultures Network, a global network of organisations that shares knowledge on agroecology and family farming.
Date of publication: September 2016
Geographic focus: World wide
Summary: Agroecology is ever more present in our food and farming system. In recent years, this approach to farming and food has gained visibility and recognition among food producers, scientists, citizens and policy makers alike. It is heartening that farmers increasingly take up agroecological practices, while both social movements and multilateral institutions such as the FAO develop policies on agroecology. However, the transition to a fundamentally different food system still has a long way to go. It cannot be stressed enough that the way our food system is currently organised is incompatible with principles of equity, peace, biodiversity conservation and economic and environmental sustainability. Perverse subsidies supporting input intensive production systems and production chains that benefit a few agro-input providers and retailers, in the context of an urgent need to address climate change, biodiversity loss and malnutrition, point to the need for radical change. Here lies the potential of agroecology as a food system that can contribute to solutions for many of these challenges. But, while many successful agroecological examples exist, it is generally not yet regarded as the most effective food system. This tension is partly explained by the way society looks at impact. The multifaceted benefits of agroecology cannot be measured through the traditional ‘productionist’ lens.
This issue of Farming Matters explores how to demonstrate the critical role agroecology can play in responding to the challenges of our time.