Newsletter no 36 – Editorial

Agroecology: real innovation from and for the people

Illustration: “Tierra del maíz” -Latin American Institute of Agroecoly.

The crisis in the industrial food system is impossible to ignore. For over a decade, study after study has validated the assertion of the Food Sovereignty movement in 2007 – that the corporate food system destroys life. Now Governments are anxious to find ‘innovations’ in agriculture that can overcome this. They are hoping to be saved by a new Green Revolution – innovations in science and technology that can increase production without depleting resources or polluting our world. Of course, this type of innovation will keep control of economic, genetic and natural resources firmly in the hands of agribusinesses. It will also keep the discourse firmly in line with the status quo without acknowledging that hunger is not caused by a shortage in food production but rather by poverty, a lack of democracy, the exclusion of vulnerable groups, and unequal or physical obstacles which inhibit (e.g. in situations of conflict or displaced populations) access to food, natural resources, and infrastructure.

On the other hand Agroecology within the framework of Food Sovereignty is also gaining widespread recognition and is increasingly being promoted as an approach to transform agriculture and food systems and address the challenges we face. The Food Sovereignty movement is exposing how the discourse on innovation is actually a way to depoliticise the debate on what a new food system should look like – by not setting any criteria on what innovation must deliver on. In this way Agroecology is put together with GMOs, new gene breeding technologies, ‘climate-smart agriculture’ and ‘sustainable intensification’. These models seize certain agroecological practices and combine them with patented seeds, transgenic plants, and animals, monoculture for international trade and, most importantly, the same vision of private accumulation of the fruits of our planet and of workers. In this edition, we look at the elements of Agroecology as defined by small scale food producers that make it the only real innovation to transform our food and farming.

Friends of the Earth International
[This edition was completed with the collaboration of IPC and LVC.]