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Newsletter no 28 - In the spotlight 1

Tuesday 13 December 2016, by Manu

Edited excerpts from

Declaration of the International Forum for Agroecology

- Nyéléni, Mali, 27 February 2015

We are delegates representing diverse organizations and
international movements of small-scale food producers
and consumers, including peasants, indigenous peoples,
communities, hunters and gatherers, family farmers, rural
workers, herders and pastoralists, fisherfolk and urban people.
Together, the diverse constituencies our organizations represent
produce some 70% of the food consumed by humanity. They are
the primary global investors in agriculture, as well as the primary
providers of jobs and livelihoods in the world.

In 2007 many of us gathered here at Nyéléni, at the Forum for
Food Sovereignty… Similarly, We gather here at the Agroecology
Forum 2015 to enrich Agroecology through dialogue between
diverse food producing peoples, as well as with consumers, urban
communities, women, youth, and others. Today our movements,
organized globally and regionally in the International Planning
Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC), have taken a new and
historic step.

Building on the past looking to the future
Our ancestral production systems have been developed over
millennia, and during the past 30 to 40 years this has come to
be called agroecology. Our agroecology includes successful
practices and production…we have developed sophisticated
theoretical, technical and political constructions.

Our diverse forms of smallholder food production based on
agroecology generate local knowledge, promote social justice,
nurture identity and culture, and strengthen the economic viability
of rural areas.

Agroecology means that we stand together in the circle of life, and
this implies that we must also stand together in the circle of struggle
against land grabbing and the criminalization of our movements.

Overcoming multiple crises
The industrial food system is a key driver of the multiple crises
of climate, food, the environment, public health and others.
Free trade and corporate investment agreements, investorstate
dispute settlement agreements, and false solutions such
as carbon markets, and the growing financialization of land and
food, etc., all further aggravate these crises.

We see agroecology as a key form of resistance to an economic
system that puts profit before life.

Agroecology at a crossroads
Popular pressure has caused many multilateral institutions,
governments, universities and research centers, some NGOs,
corporations and others, to finally recognize “agroecology”.
However, they have tried to redefine it as a narrow set of
technologies, to offer some tools that appear to ease the
sustainability crisis of industrial food production, while the existing
structures of power remain unchallenged. This co-optation of
agroecology to fine-tune the industrial food system, while paying
lip service to the environmental discourse, has various names,
including “climate smart agriculture”, “sustainable-” or “ecologicalintensification”,
industrial monoculture production of “organic”
food, etc. For us, these are not agroecology: we reject them,
and we will fight to expose and block this insidious appropriation
of agroecology.

The real solutions… will not come from conforming to the
industrial model. We must transform it and build our own local
food systems that create new rural-urban links, based on truly
agroecological food production by peasants, artisanal fishers,
pastoralists, indigenous peoples, urban farmers, etc…we see
[agroecology] as the essential alternative to the industrial model,
and as the means of transforming how we produce and consume
food into something better for humanity and our Mother Earth.

Our common pillars and principles of agroecology
The production practices of agroecology are based on ecological
principles like building life in the soil, recycling nutrients, the
dynamic management of biodiversity and energy conservation
at all scales. Agroecology drastically reduces our use of
externally-purchased inputs that must be bought from industry.
In agroecology there is no use of agrotoxins, artificial hormones,
GMOs or other dangerous new technologies.

Territories are a fundamental pillar of agroecology. Peoples
and communities have the right to maintain their own spiritual
and material relationships to their lands…this implies the full
recognition of their laws, traditions, customs, tenure systems,
and institutions, and constitutes the recognition of the selfdetermination
and autonomy of peoples.

Collective rights and access to the commons are a fundamental
pillar of agroecology.

The diverse knowledges and ways of knowing of our peoples are
fundamental to agroecology. Agroecology is developed through
our own innovation, research, and crop and livestock selection
and breeding.

The core of our cosmovisions is the necessary equilibrium
between nature, the cosmos and human beings. We reject the
commodification of all forms of life.

Collective self-organization and action are what make it possible
to scale-up agroecology, build local food systems, and challenge
corporate control of our food system. Solidarity between peoples,
between rural and urban populations, is a critical ingredient.

The autonomy of agroecology displaces the control of global
markets and generates self-governance by communities. It
requires the re-shaping of markets so that they are based on the
principles of solidarity economy and the ethics of responsible
production and consumption.

Agroecology is political; it requires us to challenge and transform
structures of power in society. We need to put the control of seeds,
biodiversity, land and territories, waters, knowledge, culture and
the commons in the hands of the peoples who feed the world.

Women and their knowledge, values, vision and leadership
are critical for moving forward. All too often, their work is
neither recognized nor valued. For agroecology to achieve its
full potential, there must be equal distribution of power, tasks,
decision-making and remuneration.

Agroecology can provide a radical space for young people to
contribute to the social and ecological transformation that is
underway in many of our societies. Agroecology must create a
territorial and social dynamic that creates opportunities for rural
youth and values women’s leadership.

The full declaration at