Breaking away from industrial food and farming systems: Seven case studies of agroecological transition
This report (PDF), by IPES-FOOD shines light ways to drive transitions in food and farming systems, breaking away from industrial agriculture. Food and farming systems around the world are driving environmental degradation, loss of vital ecosystem services, economic hardship for smallholders, socio-economic inequities, and debilitating health impacts and food insecurity for many. The majority of these problems are linked to ‘industrial agriculture’: the input-intensive crop monocultures and industrial-scale feedlots that now dominate many farming landscapes. A new agroecological paradigm is required, rooted in fundamentally different relationships between agriculture and the environment, and between food systems and society. Seven case studies in this report provide concrete examples of how to fundamentally rethink and redesign food systems around agroecological principles. Ultimately, changes are required in four key dimensions: production practices, knowledge generationand dissemination, social and economic relations, and institutional frameworks. Then new sustainable food systems can start to emerge. The following leverage points proved particularly important for shifting power relations and driving transition across the cases: (1) Building new community-led governance structures and economic systems; 2) Developing hybrid roles for key actors; 3) Forging new alliances across disconnected domains; 4) Anchoring transitions in counter-narratives and theories of change; 5) Relocalizing food and farming systems; 6) Promoting farmer-to-farmer knowledge sharing and; 6) Empowering women and young people to drive transition. Prevailing political incentives have continued to support industrial agriculture and to lock out alternatives. Globally, the policy environment may now be shifting. Debate must therefore be refocused on ‘scaling out’ agroecology and transitions must be designed with local communities. More evidence on transitions occurring at large scales with strong political support is needed, as well as finding synergies between different bodies of transition literature and between different actors underpinning those transitions. Moving forward, agroecological transition must increasingly be articulated as part of a broader transformation of society.
An exectutive summary of the report can be found here.