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Agroecology as a transformative movement has gained momentum in many countries worldwide. In several cases, the implementation of agroecological practices has grown beyond isolated, local experiences to be employed by ever-greater numbers of families and communities over ever-larger territories and to engage more people in the processing, distribution, and consumption of agroecologically produced food. To understand the nonlinear, multidimensional processes that have enabled and impelled the bringing to scale of agroecology, we review and analyze emblematic cases that include the farmer-to-farmer movement in Central America; the national peasant agroecology movement in Cuba; the organic coffee boom in Chiapas, Mexico; the spread of Zero Budget Natural Farming in Karnataka, India; and the agroecological farmer–consumer marketing network “Rede Ecovida,” in Brazil. On the basis of our analysis, we identify eight key drivers of the process of taking agroecology to scale: (1) recognition of a crisis that motivates the search for alternatives, (2) social organization, (3) constructivist learning processes, (4) effective agroecological practices, (5) mobilizing discourses, (6) external allies, (7) favorable markets, and (8) favorable policies. This initial analysis shows that organization and social fabric are the growth media on which agroecology advances, with the help of the other drivers. A more detailed understanding is needed on how these multiple dimensions interact with, reinforce, and generate positive feedback with each other to make agroecology’s territorial expansion possible.
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Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems
ISSN: 2168-3565 (Print) 2168-3573 (Online) Journal homepage:
Bringing agroecology to scale: key drivers and
emblematic cases
Mateo Mier y Terán Giménez Cacho, Omar Felipe Giraldo, Miriam Aldasoro,
Helda Morales, Bruce G. Ferguson, Peter Rosset, Ashlesha Khadse & Carmen
To cite this article: Mateo Mier y Terán Giménez Cacho, Omar Felipe Giraldo, Miriam Aldasoro,
Helda Morales, Bruce G. Ferguson, Peter Rosset, Ashlesha Khadse & Carmen Campos (2018):
Bringing agroecology to scale: key drivers and emblematic cases, Agroecology and Sustainable
Food Systems, DOI: 10.1080/21683565.2018.1443313
To link to this article:
Published online: 09 Mar 2018.
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Bringing agroecology to scale: key drivers and emblematic
Mateo Mier y Terán Giménez Cacho
, Omar Felipe Giraldo
Miriam Aldasoro
, Helda Morales
, Bruce G. Ferguson
, Peter Rosset
Ashlesha Khadse
, and Carmen Campos
Research Group on Masificación de la Agroecología para los sistemas alimentarios sustentables,El Colegio
de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR), San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Mexico;
Geography Department, Universidade
Federal de Ceará (UFC), Fortaleza, Brazil
Agroecology as a transformative movement has gained momen-
tum in many countries worldwide. In several cases, the implemen-
tation of agroecological practices has grown beyond isolated, local
experiences to be employed by ever-greater numbers of families
and communities over ever-larger territories and to engage more
people in the processing, distribution, and consumption of
agroecologically produced food. To understand the nonlinear,
multidimensional processes that have enabled and impelled the
bringing to scale of agroecology, we review and analyze emble-
matic cases that include the farmer-to-farmer movement in Central
America; the national peasant agroecology movement in Cuba; the
organic coffee boom in Chiapas, Mexico; the spread of Zero Budget
Natural Farming in Karnataka, India; and the agroecological
farmerconsumer marketing network Rede Ecovida,in Brazil. On
the basis of our analysis, we identify eight key drivers of the process
of taking agroecology to scale: (1) recognition of a crisis that
motivates the search for alternatives, (2) social organization, (3)
constructivist learning processes, (4) effective agroecological
practices, (5) mobilizing discourses, (6) external allies, (7) favorable
markets, and (8) favorable policies. This initial analysis shows that
organization and social fabric are the growth media on which
agroecology advances, with the help of the other drivers. A more
detailed understanding is needed on how these multiple dimen-
sions interact with, reinforce, and generate positive feedback with
each other to make agroecologys territorial expansion possible.
Agri-food system
massification of
agroecology; scaling out;
territorialization of
The science and practice of agroecology offer us the foundations for radically
transformed food systems (Gliessman 2015; Wezel et al. 2009). Increasingly,
agroecology is a key element of a growing, emancipatory movement to
increase the power and control of farmers over their own production; to
foster transformative social processes for the diffusion of agroecological
CONTACT Mateo Mier y Terán Giménez Cacho Research Group on Masificación
de la Agroecología para los sistemas alimentarios sustentables,El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR), San
Cristóbal de Las Casas, Mexico
© 2018 Taylor & Francis
practice; and to broaden access to food grown in healthy, environmentally
friendly ways (Altieri and Toledo 2011; Martínez-Torres and Rosset 2014;
Rosset and Altieri 2017; Rosset and Martínez-Torres 2012). Despite the
recognition gained by agroecology in recent years (International
Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development
(IAASTD) 2008; IPES-Food 2016), few cases in which more than a few
hundred farmers in a given region have adopted agroecological practice
have been documented with depth and detail.
This paucity of documented cases is understandable in light of the massive
constellation of policies, institutions, and corporations dedicated to creating
and maintaining an ideal economic and policy environment for the industrial
agriculture model (McMichael 2013; Van Der Ploeg 2008). However, the
success of agroecology in the face of such opposition merits investigation.
Industrial agriculture has contaminated soils, water, and air; eroded soils and
biological diversity; caused pest outbreaks; led to the indebtedness of farmers;
and contributed greatly to the abandonment of the countryside (Carroll,
Vandermeer, and Rosset 1990; Lappé, Collins, and Rosset 1998).
Furthermore, industrial agriculture has failed in its promise to end hunger
(De Schutter 2010; Patel 2007). Under the neoliberal regime, industrial
agriculture is one of the many tools for and causes of resource grabbing
by economic elites (Borras et al. 2012). Understanding where and how
agroecology has overcome these barriers is essential for further development
of the movement.
Agroecological practice draws upon and emphasizes farmer and peasant
knowledge and is best understood not as a set of recipes, but rather as
principles applied in accordance with the unique reality of each farmer
(Altieri 1995; Gliessman 2015; Rosset and Altieri 2017). A fully agroecological
farm would be based on cultivated and not cultivated biodiversity, including
the integration of crops, trees, and livestock, at the plot, farm, and landscape
levels (Nicholls, Parrella, and Altieri 2001; Perfecto, Vandermeer, and Wright.
2009; Altieri and Rogé 2009; Gliessman 2015). On the other hand, input
substitution strategies (e.g. replacing chemical pesticides with microbial pes-
ticides or commercial compost in place of synthetic fertilizers) are sometimes
considered agroecological techniques. While such strategies may be more
ecologically and socially acceptable than those they replace, they can also
maintain the dependency of farmers upon purchased inputs and may have
unintended ecological consequences (Rosset and Altieri 1997; Gliessman 2015;
Vandermeer and Perfecto 2017). In the long run, agroecology aims to reduce
dependence upon external inputs, thereby contributing to the autonomy of
food-producing families and communities (Rosset and Martínez-Torres 2012).
At its most ambitious, agroecology proposes the organization and connection
of consumers, producers, and others to form fair, environmentally responsible
food systems, as well as broader movements for social, political, and economic
justice (Gliessman 2011; Rosset and Martínez-Torres 2012).
Thus, bringing agroecology to scale is situated within the pressing need to
transform agri-food systems (Altieri and Nicholls 2008,2012; Parmentier
2014; Rosset and Altieri 2017). We define the massification,scaling,
amplification,or territorializationof agroecology as a process that leads
ever-greater numbers of families to practice agroecology over ever-larger
territories and which engages more people in the processing, distribution,
and consumption of agroecologically produced food. For agroecology to be
scaled, it must expand and consolidate along several axes (International
Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) 2000; Gonsalves 2001, Ranaboldo
and Venegas 2007, Altieri and Nicholls 2012, Parmentier 2014, Brescia 2017).
Scaling combines vertical (scaling-up) and horizontal (scaling-out) processes
(International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) 2000; Rosset and
Altieri 2017). The former are mostly institutional in nature, while the latter
comprise geographical and social spread to more people and communities
and are often associated with grassroots movements (International Institute
of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) 2000; Rosset and Martínez-Torres 2012).
Scaling means that a greater fraction of the population, both urban and
rural, can produce and access healthy, nutritious, diverse food that is envir-
onmentally compatible and culturally appropriate (Rosset 2015; Rosset and
Altieri 2017).
Here, we contribute to the theoretical understanding of agroecologys
scaling processes by analyzing five cases of massification around the globe
and identifying key factors in each case that allowed agroecology to grow
beyond isolated, local experiences. We selected the five emblematic cases
based on their territorial reach, the thousands of families involved, the extent
and quality of their documentation, and our direct experience with each one.
Ours is not a comprehensive review of instances of agroecological scaling nor
do we explore each case exhaustively. Instead, we identify necessary and
contributing drivers of scaling and analyze across cases the relative signifi-
cance of these. We also make an initial attempt to elucidate the complex
relations among these drivers so that strategies for advancing agroecological
transformations might be formulated and evaluated. Works by Gonsalves
(2001) and Parmentier (2014) have already identified several key elements of
scaling. The former provides guidance to NGOs and development agencies
that promote agroecology, while the latter focuses upon policy prescription.
We argue that although allies in NGOs, governments, and other sectors can
contribute key resources and help create an environment conducive to
scaling, successful scaling processes are grounded in broad-based, inclusive
social movements (Khadse, Rosset, and Ferguson 2017; McCune et al. 2016,
2017; Rosset 2015; Rosset and Altieri 2017; Rosset et al. 2011).
Case 1: the Campesino a Campesino movement in Mesoamerica
The Campesino a Campesino (CaC) movement was born in the early 1970s
in Chimaltenango, Guatemala, as an effort of Kaqchikel Maya farmers,
with some support from OXFAM and World Neighbors (Holt-Giménez
2006). The farmers drew upon traditions of labor sharing; horizontal
pedagogical practices congruent with the action-reflection-actionpraxis
of Paulo Freire (1970); Latin American popular education; Liberation
Theology; and the indigenous culture to which they pertained (op cit.).
Indigenous peasant farmers used cross visits, demonstration plots, and
small-scale experimentation to teach each other techniques for soil and
water conservation, such as green manure, living and non-living contour
barriers, crop diversification, and intensive bio-horticulture. These agro-
nomic improvements, along with the organization of the Kato-Ki coop-
erative, increased production and incomes. The campesinos began to
liberate themselves from plantation labor and even to purchase and
redistribute land from neighboring coffee farms. But during the brutal
repression of the 1980s, latifundistas called in the Guatemalan military to
crush Kato-Ki.
Many of CaCs farmer-extensionists fled. With help from NGOs, they
found work with grassroots projects in Mexico, Honduras, and Nicaragua,
where they broadened their experience with sustainable agriculture as well as
their organizational skills (Holt-Giménez 2006). Because of this diaspora, the
CaC methodology spread to diverse organizations throughout the region.
Among the most successful were the Mexican peasant organizations Centro
de Desarrollo Integral Campesino de la Mixteca (CEDICAM)
in Oaxaca and
the Grupo Vicente Guerrero,
in Tlaxcala (Boege and Carranza 2009). These
groups adapted the Guatemalan methodology to their own social context and
developed a broader methodological and technical repertoire. Beginning in
1986, farmers from Vicente Guerrero, again with NGO backing as well as
tepid support from the Sandinista government, brought their methodology to
the Nicaraguan Union Nacional de Agricultores y Ganaderos (UNAG). This
organization was a founding member of La Via Campesina (LVC), a trans-
national peasant movement.
In Nicaragua, CaC grew into a broad-based
movement for social change based upon sustainable peasant agriculture
(agroecology), reaching 30,000 peasant families distributed across much of
the country. This resistance movement,as it was defined by its actors,
bolstered the peasantry against the threats of industrial agriculture by pro-
moting socially, culturally, economically, and environmentally sustainable
farming (Holt-Giménez 2006).
UNAG later with withdrew from LVC.
Case 2: ANAP and the agroecological revolution in Cuba
Cuba was the Latin American country that adopted the green revolutions
technological package with greatest intensity (Machín Sosa et al. 2010,2013;
Rosset et al. 2011). However, agroecology was key in helping Cubans survive
the crisis caused by the collapse of the socialist bloc in 19891990 and the
subsequent tightening of the US trade embargo. Cuban peasants were
boosted food production without scarce, expensive inputs by first substitut-
ing ecological inputs for imports that were no longer available and then
through a transition to more diverse, agroecologically integrated farming
systems. Key practices have included soil conservation, crop rotation, green
manure and compost, polycultures and agroforestry, biological control of
pests, integration of livestock with crops, and diversification. Cuban agricul-
tures necessarily rapid transition was possible not so much because appro-
priate alternatives became available, but because of the CaC social-process
methodology that the National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP) a
member of LVC learned from Mesoamerica, then adapted and used to
build a grassroots agroecology movement.
Between introduction of the methodology in 1997 and 2010, about one-
third of all peasant families in Cuba came to participate in the Farmer to
Farmer Agroecology Movementwithin ANAP (Machín Sosa et al. 2010,
2013; Rosset et al. 2011; Val 2012). This movement has since grown to
include some 200,000 peasant families, about one-half of the Cuban peasan-
try. During the same period, the Cuban peasantscontribution to national
food production has increased significantly, due at least in part to this
movement. This rapid spread of agroecology was attributable principally to
the social-process methodology and to the social movement dynamics the
movement created. Evolving agroecological practice contributed to the sig-
nificant increase in the peasant sectors relative and absolute production and
resulted in additional benefits, including resilience in the face of climate
change (Rosset et al. 2011; Funes and Vázquez 2016).
Case 3: organic coffee boom in Chiapas, Mexico
The thousands of indigenous peasants in Chiapas, Mexico, who supply world
markets with organic coffee offer another instructive case of agroecological
scaling (Martínez-Torres 2006). The process has been influenced, driven, and
supported by Liberation Theology and the Indigenous Theology of the
Catholic Church, with their fundamental tenet of a preferential option for
the poor (Hernández-Castillo 2010). The recovery of ancestral and popular
knowledge associated with Maya cosmovision has been central elements of
the boom (Hernández-Castillo and Nigh 1998), along with crop diversifica-
tion; agroecological soil management; strengthening of indigenous identity;
organization of cooperatives; and fair trade links through Max Havelaar and
other labels (Martínez-Torres 2006; Renard 2003). A key turning point was
the 1989 closing of the Mexican Coffee Institute (IMECAFE), which had
controlled coffee exports. The dismantling of IMECAFE coincided with the
fall in international prices and with the loss of yields and profitability.
That combination of events constituted both a crisis for peasant coffee
producers and (ultimately) an opportunity (Martínez-Torres 2006). In
response to the crisis, an organized process began for the commercialization
of organic coffee under organic and fair-trade schemes. That process, which
ensured a better price for the producing families (Martínez-Torres 2006), was
made possible by a constellation of actors. Among them were cooperatives
backed by Liberation Theology; left-wing political groups present in the
region since the 1970s; cooperatives that IMECAFE itself had supported for
three decades; and other self-organized cooperatives (Martínez-Torres 2006;
Nigh 2002). Other important factors were the physical infrastructure created
during the IMECAFE period and links with the experience of Oaxacas
Union of Indigenous Communities of the Isthmus Region (UCIRI), which
had already established marketing schemes for organic coffee. The coops
drew from examples of successful agroecological and agroforestry practices
provided by the Finca Irlanda operation and by Guatemalan agroecology
promoters who had been displaced by that countys civil war. In addition,
exchanges among the indigenous farmers themselves occurred more sponta-
neously (Martínez-Torres 2006). This strong movement, linked to export and
mediated by organic certification labels (Martínez-Torres 2006), now
includes 31,000 farm families, mostly indigenous, working in a region that
covers 72,000 hectares. These organic coffee farmers obtain roughly the same
yields as conventional farmers with higher profit margins (Martínez-Torres
Case 4: Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) in India
Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF), a set of methods that agronomist
Subhash Palekar put together based upon traditional practices and agroecol-
ogy, has become the foundation for a grassroots peasant movement that has
spread to various states in India (Khadse, Rosset, and Ferguson 2017). It has
attained wide success, especially in the southern Indian state of Karnataka
where it first evolved. The movement found fertile ground in the organiza-
tional landscape of the Karnataka State Farmers Association (KRRS), a
member of LVC. Participation in Karnataka alone is estimated at roughly
100,000 farmer families; at the national level, it may run into the millions
according to ZBNF leaders. This level of participation has been achieved
without any formal organization, paid staff, or even a bank account. The
movement benefits from a spirit of volunteerism among its peasant farmer
protagonists. Part of the appeal to farmers comes from Palekars charisma
and powerful mix of Hindu cosmology and resistance to both transnational
corporations and the green revolution (Bhattacharya 2017; Khadse, Rosset,
and Ferguson 2017).
At the local level, the movement is run informally, with a self-organized
dynamic. Most farmers who practice ZBNF are connected to each other
informally and carry out both organized and spontaneous farmer-to-farmer
CaC-style exchange activities. Leaders tend to emerge naturally from the
grassroots. At the state level, the main organized activities are training
camps run by Palekar. The camps last up to five days, with about eight
hours of classes each day. Attendance ranges from 300 to 5000 farmers.
Farmer-to-farmer networks, cross visits, and farmermentor relationships
develop from the contacts made at the camps (Khadse, Rosset, and
Ferguson 2017).
Survey respondents reported that ZBNF is effective for farmers in agro-
nomic, social, and economic terms (Khadse, Rosset, and Ferguson 2017).
Most reported that sustained use of ZBNF practices such as biofertilizers,
biological pest control, contours, polycultures, and mulch improved yields,
soil conservation, seed diversity, quality of produce, household food auton-
omy, income, and health. Motivations commonly cited by farmers for joining
the ZNBF movement include the health of their families, food self-suffi-
ciency, and reduced production costs. Most reduced their farm expenses
and thus their need for credit, one of the major problems plaguing Indian
Case 5: Rede Ecovida in Southern Brazil
The Rede Ecovida (EcoLife Network) was created formally in 1998.
However, it can be traced back to the 1970s and 1980s, when parallel social
movements were confronting both land concentration and the environmen-
tal and socioeconomic damages occasioned by modern, agrochemical-based
agriculture (Charão and Oliveira 2016). The combination of these menaces,
and of organizations formed to confront them, created conditions for various
alternative-agriculture initiatives, which later came to be called agroecol-
ogy.These initiatives were linked with the Rede Tecnologia Alternativa-Sul
(Alternative Technology Network South, Rede TA-Sul), which was
linked, in turn, to the national Rede Projeto em Tecnologia Alternativa
(Rede PTA). Additional links were formed with processes promoted by the
Catholic ChurchsPastoral de la Tierra (Land Pastoral), which was based
upon liberation theology, and with other local organizations searching for
alternatives (Charão and Oliveira 2016). Ecovida now comprises NGOs,
groups, consumer cooperatives, and cooperatives and organizations of pea-
sant farmers who practice agroecology. Ecovida has a decentralized structure
in 150 municipalities in the three southern states of Brazil: Rio Grande do
Sul, Santa Catarina, and Paraná. The movement has expanded to 29 farmers
organizations, 2,700 family farmers, 10 consumerscooperative, 25 associa-
tions, and 30 agro-industries located in 18 municipalities, with more than
180 farmersmarkets (Ecovida 2017).
Although Ecovida focuses on nested markets (Hebinck, Schneider, and Van
Der Ploeg 2014), its membersactivities are rooted in agroecological practices.
Members follow principles of horizontality, solidarity, justice, and care for
nature, all of which permeate the governing logicof their activities, and therefore
go beyond marketing and profit making. Ecovidas participatory certification
program started in the late 1990s as a response to the governments attempts to
regulate organic production (Perez-Cassarino 2012). The certification program
is an example of Ecovidashorizontal pedagogical approach, whose goal is
transformative learning (Radomsky 2010). Ecovida members follow their sys-
temic understanding of agroecology and promote a solidary economy between
producers and consumers (Perez-Cassarino 2012). The structure of that econ-
omy allows for different configurations of markets, ranging from door-to-door
peddling, to farmersmarkets, to sales to community canteens, consumer
groups, restaurants, and an intermarket commercialization circuit within three
states (Charão and Oliveira 2016; Perez-Cassarino 2012).
Key drivers in the massification of agroecology
Eight interrelated drivers emerged from our analysis of these five cases.
Those drivers can act alone or together to promote and sustain territorial
scaling of agroecology
: (1) crises that drive the search for alternatives; (2)
social organization; (3) constructivist teachinglearning processes; (4) effec-
tive agroecological practices; (5) mobilizing discourse; (6) external allies; (7)
favorable markets; and (8) political opportunities and favorable policies. At
the beginning of a particular process, one or a few of these drivers may drive
scaling. However, positive feedback and virtuous synergisms arise among
drivers as scaling advances, thereby activating other drivers and bringing
them to bear. We propose as a working hypothesis that broad, strongly
articulated, resilient scaling of agroecology results from integration of several
drivers. The eight drivers seem to have been key to the scaling-up of
agroecology in most or all of these five cases. Other drivers undoubtedly
contribute in some cases. Furthermore, access to land for farmer families is a
necessary precondition for agroecology and its growth. With these caveats,
we now describe how these drivers determine agroecological scaling.
Rosset (2015), Khadse, Rosset, and Ferguson (2017), and Rosset and Altieri (2017) offer similar lists.
Driver 1: crises that encourage the search for alternatives
To varying degrees, each of the five cases arose in the context of crises in one
or more facets of the food system and, in some cases, the broader society.
These crises, diverse in origins and expressions, set the stage for transforma-
tion but were never the sole drivers of massification.
When the CaC movement began in Nicaragua in the mid-1980s, the country
was at war, economically embargoed by the United States, and suffering from
degraded soils, low yields, a deep food shortage, and unprecedented hyperinfla-
tion (Vásquez and Rivas 2006). In Cuba, the agroecological movement gained
prominence in the context of the fall of the Soviet bloc, the worsening of the US
economic blockade, a widespread food shortage, and the exhaustion of the agro-
industrial model (Machín Sosa et al. 2010,2013; Rosset et al. 2011). In Chiapas,
thecoffeesectors crisis during the late 1990s was due to the confluence of high
input costs, declining yields, collapseofinternationalcoffeeprices,andthe
dismantling of IMECAFE (Hernández-Castillo and Nigh 1998;Martínez-
Torres 2006). In India, the crisis was marked by overwhelming peasant indebt-
edness that led to an unprecedented epidemic of suicides an average of one
farmer suicide every 30 min coupled with low incomes due to falling market
prices and rising costs of green revolution inputs (Khadse, Rosset, and Ferguson
2017;Misra2008;Mohanty2005; Vakulabharam 2013;Vyas2005).
These crises created political opportunities and propitious contexts for
alternatives to the agro-industrial model. Within such climates, the seeds of
agroecological massification could germinate and then be nurtured by the
suite of interacting drivers we describe below.
Driver 2: social organization and intentional social process
Social organization is the culture medium upon which agroecology grows.
Social-process methodologies accelerate this growth (Rosset 2015; Rosset and
Altieri 2017). Imagine a farm family that is not part of any organizational
fabric. The family may transform its farm agroecologically, but other farmers
may have no obvious way to learn from or emulate the familys experience.
In contrast, if that family is part of an organization that carries out farmer-to-
farmer exchanges, those exchanges could easily have a multiplier effect.
The experience of rural social movements, and of farmer and peasant orga-
nizations, indicates that the degree of organization (called organicidad or orga-
nicityby social movements) is a key element in bringing agroecology to scale,
as is the extent to which horizontal social methodologies based upon peasant
and farmer protagonism are employed to construct social processes collectively.
Increasingly, peasant organizations themselves are sponsoring farmer-to-farmer
processes and agroecology schools (McCune et al. 2016,2017; Rosset 2015:
Rosset et al. 2011; Rosset and Martínez-Torres 2012).
Social organization and process played a key role in each of the five cases
reviewed for this article. That role is most immediately apparent in the
Nicaraguan and Cuban cases where CaC social-process methodology led to
rapid scaling of agroecology (Holt-Giménez 2006; Rosset et al. 2011). We
have argued elsewhere that agroecology spread much more rapidly in Cuba
than in Central America because of ANAPs greater degree of organicity and
the greater intentionality with which ANAP took on and promoted CaC
methodology (Rosset et al. 2011).
We have also argued that ZNBF took off in Karnataka state because it took
root in communities that already had a rich organizational fabric provided by
the KRRS farmer organization (Khadse, Rosset, and Ferguson 2017). In
Chiapas, Martínez-Torres (2006) has shown that a previous cycle of social
capital formation by peasant coffee cooperatives laid the groundwork for the
rapid uptake of organic farming methods and for the cooperativesappro-
priation of new markets that opened up for labeled coffee. In Brazil, the
Ecovida network is, in effect, an organizational structure based upon a social
process and a methodology for linking existing farmer and consumer coops
(Lamine, Darolt, and Brandenburg 2012). In all cases, social organization and
process was the driver that made scaling-up possible.
Driver 3: effective and simple agroecological farming practices
The reduction of synthetic inputs (e.g., via integrated management of soil
fertility and pests) and input substitution (purchased microbial pesticides and
biofertilizers) can be steps in a transition toward agroecological systems. This
is what Gliessman (2015) calls level 1 and 2 agroecology: the reduction of
industrial inputs and the substitution of conventional practices with agroe-
cological practices, respectively. However, an agroecological system occurs at
level 3, a focus upon integration among elements of the agroecosystem. Level
3 agroecology requires creation or strengthening of autonomous mechanisms
for maintenance of soil fertility and regulation of pests and weeds, as well as
synergies and complementarity in use of space, nutrients, water, and sunlight
(Gliessman 2015). Such agroecological practices are based upon the main-
tenance of the life in the soil, enhancement of agrobiodiversity (such as the
integration of crops, trees, and livestock), and farm and landscape redesign
(polycultures, soil conservation, conservation of forest, or wildlife patches)
(Gliessman 2015; Perfecto, Vandermeer, and Wright 2009).
In their respective initial phases, Indias ZBNF and Cubas agroecological
revolution (lead by ANAP) were based primarily upon input-substitution
practices, including biofertilizers, efficient microorganisms, botanical pesti-
cides, biological control agents, and (in Cuba) vermicomposting. More inte-
grative (level 3) agroecological practices promoted in our cases included
ZNBFs use of mulch and native cow manure to enrich and protect soil
and to close nutrient cycles. Similarly, Ecovida promoted organic-matter
incorporation, erosion prevention, and use of green manures. Farmers in
Cuba, Chiapas, and Central America used green manure, incorporation of
organic matter, hedgerows, and contour barriers. Organic coffee farmers in
Chiapas also used compost, microbial soil regeneration, mulch, and weed
management for prevention of soil erosion.
To increase biodiversity and related agroecosystem functions at the farm
level, the movements we describe in India, Chiapas, and Cuba promote
polycultures and agroforestry systems (e.g., diversification of shade trees in
coffee plantations; integration of livestock with crops and trees; and integra-
tion of fruit trees with sugar-cane diversification). The Cuban and Brazilian
organizations foster local seed selection, production, and exchange. We
found no evidence that the movements we studied promote protection and
restoration of wild areas within or adjacent to agricultural landscapes, even
though that practice is important for maintaining agroecosystem function
(e.g. Perfecto, Vandermeer, and Wright 2009).
Despite the frequent lack of integrative practice at the farm and landscape
level, the massification efforts noted in our five cases have reduced external
inputs and production costs while increasing production. For example, ZBNF
farmers have achieved better yields using less water and fewer off-farm inputs
(Khadse, Rosset, and Ferguson 2017). In Nicaragua, members of the CaC
movement saw their costs decline while their yields increased by 300% (Holt-
Giménez 2006).
Our analysis of these cases suggests that simple, level-2 practices and
recipes may be important for early adoption. More complex practices that
depend upon a more sophisticated understanding of ecological relation-
ships at the farm and landscape levels advance at a slower pace. As the
rapid adoption of Green Revolution packages demonstrates, technologies
that give quick, visible results appeal to farmers. More complex agroeco-
logical management, practices that accrue benefits more slowly, and those
that require landscape-level coordination may be more difficult to pro-
mote, particularly because their benefits, while substantial, can be diffuse
and difficult to observe. This is why the CaC methodology is based on
starting slowly, with simple practices likely to give rapid results. Early
success motivates farmers to stick with the process, and more complicated
practices are introduced gradually (Holt-Giménez 2006; Machín Sosa et al.
Driver 4. Constructivist teachinglearning processes
Teachinglearning processes used by movements that have scaled out agroe-
cology promote the active inclusion of traditional/local/contemporary knowl-
edge, as well as development of autonomy. Pedagogy is predominantly
horizontal. For example, farmer-to-farmer methodology, congruent with
Paulo Freires constructivist
principles (Freire 1970; Holt-Giménez 2006),
was used in all five cases. These teaching methods guarantee collective,
horizontal learning, discussed variously as the co-creation of knowledge
(Coolsaet 2016), and diálogo de saberes:dialog among different knowl-
edgesor ways of knowing (Martínez-Torres and Rosset 2014). The common
objective is recognition of peasant knowledge and cultivation of peasant
protagonism in place of conventional agricultural extension, in which pea-
sants play a more passive role (Altieri and Toledo 2011; Holt-Giménez 2006;
Rosset et al. 2011; Scoones and Thompson 1994). All five emblematic cases
built upon traditional and local practices, especially for the rescue of native
seed varieties and animal breeds.
The teachinglearning processes in the cases we studied integrate spiritual/
emotional/ideological components with technical training, enabling people to
experience meaningful learning (Ausubel 1983). For example, the farmer-to-
farmer method demands work with head, heart, and hands,that is, cogni-
tive, emotional, and practical elements (Holt-Giménez 2006). The spiritual
component is evident in Chiapass organic coffee boom and the CaC
Movement in Mesoamerica, both of which are influenced strongly by
Liberation Theologys see-judge-act praxis and by indigenous cosmovision
(Boff 1994). Somewhat similarly, the ZBNF is embedded in spiritual values
that allow peasants to connect with agroecological practice. In all five cases,
teachinglearning processes are accompanied by a clear ideological posture.
The educational programs in each case include processes for systemic ana-
lysis of macro-level socioeconomic, cultural, and political contexts. These
pedagogical practices resonate with Vigotskys sociocultural theory, which
states that social interaction, culture, and historical context play a funda-
mental role in the development of cognition (Carrera and Mazzarella 2001;
McCune et al. 2016).
Although Rede Ecovida and MesoamericasCaC movement collaborated
with local schools, the emphasis in all five cases is on informal education.
Thus most training takes place outside of formal institutions, using meth-
odologies coherent with critical pedagogy, peasant protagonism, and auton-
omy. Significant elements include use of materials suitable for local
conditions, mutual visits among peasants, and practical activities in mean-
ingful places such as their own fields that make learning meaningful. The
methodologies are based upon teaching by example; what teachers often call
modeling ethically and practically(McLaren 2001:79). This pedagogy of
Delval (2000, 78) considers constructivism to be a psychological and epistemological position that tries to explain
how knowledge is formed [. . .] Constructivism proposes that subjects need to build their knowledge and that
knowledge cannot be given already built. This theory states that subjects form their knowledge based upon the
knowledge they already have, testing it and contrasting it with their physical and social reality(translation by
the exampleis understood in Latin American social movements as a con-
tinuation of the thinking of José Martí and Ernesto CheGuevara (Barbosa
and Rosset 2017; Turner 2007). For example, training groups visit farms that
employ efficient agroecological practices because seeing results first-hand
inspires peasants to emulate these practices. Furthermore,
Farmers learn from each other by sharing wisdom, creativity and knowledge, not
just information and techniques. Rather than simply transferring technologies,
farmers first and foremost make culture- sharing that leads to action builds a
culture of sustainable agriculture. Technology transfer is actually just one (and not
always the primary) component of this cultural matrix Holt-Giménez (2001, 27).
The teachinglearning processes used in the five cases are supported by
auxiliary materials that include books, booklets, radio, TV programs, and
even intense interchanges of ideas on social networks such as Facebook and
(in India) cell-phone-based communication (Khadse, Rosset, and Ferguson
2017). The pedagogical components of agroecological scaling stimulate peo-
plescreativity as well as their active participation and full recognition of
themselves and others as subjects (Brescia 2017; McCune et al. 2016,2017).
In McCune et al. (2016), we further argue that peasant organizations are
implementing these critical pedagogies in ways that use territory itself as a
pedagogical mediator in bringing agroecology to scale.
Driver 5. Mobilizing discourse
The theory of collective action holds that discourse is a key element in social
mobilization processes when it allows the definition or framing of a common
problem, a shared adversary, a horizon of struggle, a common identity, and
common principles (Touraine 1994). The ability to establish a clear, easily
understandable discourse or frame that helps promote social action in a way
that is understood and reproduced by the collective is important for the
scaling of agroecology. Successful agroecology movements combine agroe-
cology as farming(farming practices that work) with agroecology as fram-
ing,a discourse that (among other things) motivates peasant and farmer
families to undertake sometimes-difficult agroecological transformations
(Martínez-Torres and Rosset 2014; Rosset and Martínez-Torres 2012).
In all cases analyzed, the discourse has been heavily politicized against the
agro-industrial system of the Green Revolution. Beyond that, for agroecolo-
gical discourse to be effective, it must be culturally relevant in each specific
context. For example, Palekars ZBNF discourse amalgamates a critique of
the exploitative, anti-peasant system, dominated by transnational corpora-
tions and Western culture, with metaphors from Hindu mythology and
Gandhian principles of personal change, austere life, non-violence, and
responsibility to Mother Earth (Khadse, Rosset, and Ferguson 2017). In
Cuba, criticism of the agro-industrial model hybridizes with food sover-
eignty, the care of nature, the revolutions socialist values, the pride of
being a farmer, and the words of José Marti (Machín Sosa et al. 2010,2013).
The mobilizing dialog in the -coffee movement in Chiapas and CaC
Movement in Mesoamerica, which are influenced by Liberation Theology,
strongly questions both the dominant development paradigm and the tech-
nological path of the Green Revolution, while espousing faith, autonomy,
love for Mother Earth, defense of the territory and culture, and the cosmovi-
sions and ancestral knowledge of Mesoamerican peoples (Hernández-Castillo
2010). In the south of Brazil, another region strongly influenced by liberation
theology, the discourse of Rede Ecovida against agrochemicals and the com-
mercialization of industrialized foods in large supermarkets and promoting
care of nature and health have helped create a common identity shared by
the consumer movement and agroecological farmers.
In summary, each of the five cases is marked by a framing discourse, based
upon culturally, spiritually, and contextually appropriate principles and
values that recognized the worth of farmers and indigenous peoples. Each
discourse has been effective because it motivates the movementsmembers to
stand against the agro-industrialized system and to take up agroecology as
the alternative to the harmful Green Revolution model.
Driver 6. External allies
External allies have played a vital role in each of our case studies. The
resources and support that allies bring to the scaling process take a variety
of forms: publicity; material (e.g. funds); moral (e.g. social legitimacy); and
organizational or human (e.g. knowledge, abilities, and volunteers). The
support of allies comes from various areas, including government, media,
academia, political parties, religious institutions, and NGOs. Allies include
institutions and, more commonly, individuals within institutions that do not
normally support agroecology. Those individuals include sympathetic gov-
ernment officials able to redirect public resources.
Key allies of the ZBNF movement are Hindu ashrams that provide free
accommodation and food for training camps, as well as social legitimacy. The
peasant movement has provided organizational support, spreading agroecol-
ogy through its grassroots structure. Tech-savvy individuals have given ZBNF
communication support with a wide Internet presence through various blogs,
forums, and other websites where online exchanges occur among both rural
and urban farmers. Some shops provide favorable market outlets. Influential
individuals, including a few entrepreneurs, politicians, actors, and govern-
ment officials, have given the movement visibility in mainstream media and
pushed for favorable public policies (Khadse, Rosset, and Ferguson 2017).
Essential allies of the CaC movement in Central America included NGOs
and peasant organizations that brought ideas, funding, and organizational
resources. The movement began with mostly financial, though also technical
support from World Neighbors and Bread for the World (Holt-Giménez
2006). In Nicaragua, support from German Protestant and Catholic churches
played an important role (Salazar 2014). Participants also credit NGO sup-
port as key to introducing a gender-equity perspective to the movement
(Holt-Giménez 2006).
In Cuba, various government agencies have been important allies of the
CaC movement. Supportive public policies like land reform were key pre-
conditions for the success of CaC. Allied peasant organizations in Central
America, supported by international NGOs, were fundamental in introdu-
cing CaC methodology to Cuba in the late 1990s. NGOs and universities
have provided research, technical, and other types of support. Groups includ-
ing the Cuban Association of Agriculture and Forest Technicians (ACTAF),
the Cuban Animal Production Association (ACPA), and the international
national public sector Innovation Program on Local Agriculture played
similar roles. The dominant ideology of the Ministry of Agriculture remains
that of large-scale industrial agriculture. However, the movement has won
many favorable public policies, at least until trade relations are normalized.
In the meantime, Cuba boasts some of the worlds most supportive policies
for agroecology (listed in Machín Sosa et al. 2010,2013). The Brazilian
agroecology movement grew as an alliance of alternative agriculture NGOs,
members of local, ecological agriculture initiatives, and farmersorganiza-
tions. The Federation of Family Farmers (FETRAF) joined early on.
Subsequently, the Landless WorkersMovement (MST) an LVC member
supported added its strength and numbers to the movement. The alliance
later helped create the Brazilian Agroecology Association (ABA) and the
National Agroecology Articulation (ANA), both of which are national group-
ings of agroecology NGOs, movements, and scientists. Regional networks like
Rede Ecovida in southern Brazil formed as partnerships among farmers,
scientists, consumers, and some parts of government to establish localized
agroecological food systems. These alliances have strengthened the move-
ments capacity to react to political opportunities and advocate for favorable
In Chiapas, Mexico, the influence of Presbyterian and Catholic clergy who
adhered to liberation and indigenous theologies promoted organic coffee as
part of a revival of the traditional Mayan culture. Also critical was the capture
of coffee processing infrastructure by peasant cooperatives aided by sym-
pathetic government officials when IMECAFE was privatized.
In summary, the five cases show that external allies play key roles in the
amplification of agroecology movements, providing support to farmers,
channeling resources, motivating articulations between social sectors, and
strengthening lobbying capacity. Nevertheless, there may be a fine line
between using support from allies for building the internal strength of
autonomous, bottom-up processes versus creating high levels of depen-
dence on external actors and/or policies and that put the medium- and
long-term sustainability of the process in jeopardy (Rosset and Altieri
Driver 7. Construction of markets favorable to agroecology
The development of alternative food networks (AFN) is not a necessary
condition for the widespread adoption and adaptation of agroecological
practices by farmers, as the lack of such in the cases of ZBNF in India and
CaC in Nicaragua show. Nevertheless, in many instances, markets are a
strategic sociopolitical arena for scaling agroecology (Hebinck, Schneider,
and Van Der Ploeg 2014; Pretty 2001). For Gliessman (2015), building
food citizenshipthrough participation in AFNs is the fourth level of
agroecological conversion. Reciprocal arrangements such as solidarity net-
works have often been central to the advance of ecological farmersmarkets
and the socioeconomic viability of agroecology (Gliessman 2015; Granovetter
2005; Henderson and Casey 2015; La Via Campesina 2015; Parmentier 2014;
Van Der Ploeg 2012).
These market arrangements can be driven by consumers of internationa-
lized goods, as in the case of certified fair-trade and organic coffee produced
in Chiapas (Martínez-Torres 2006). The arrangements can also be based
upon local and regional food markets, such as those organized by Rede
Ecovida in Brazil. Alternatively, they can be driven by public policies that
support small farmers and agroecological production, as in the cases of
Cubas strong support for cooperative formation and tight arrangements
for purchasing their production, and the Brazilian Federal Food
Acquisition from Family Farming (PAA) program (Wittman and Blesh
2017). The socioeconomic and ecological effects may vary according to the
type of market arrangements, but arrangements that prove helpful to massi-
fication of agroecology contribute to food-system transformation by differ-
entiating agroecological production from the general market.
The spread of organic and fair-trade coffee production in Chiapas has
clearly been market-driven, with the conformation of peasant marketing
cooperatives and the arrival in the 1990 of European buyers in search of
organic coffee production (Martínez-Torres 2006). Because coffee has proven
vulnerable to external factors such as market swings and crop diseases,
cooperatives have sought to diversify in recent years. This effort is reflected
in their search for other fair-trade products (e.g. honey) as well as food for
self-sufficiency and local markets.
The Cuban case exemplifies a strong involvement by the State in managing
the food market, from supporting the conformation of farmerscooperatives
throughout the country and awarding them purchasing contracts to ensuring
crop prices that give market guaranties to farmers. These market arrange-
ments in Cuba contribute to the persistence and growth of scaling processes
that originate in the drivers described above.
The Rede Ecovida exemplifies an agroecology movement formed around
an AFN. Through actions including conforming nested market circuits that
connect producers and consumers, and a network of local seed production,
the Rede has become the principal social platform for a solidary-economy
movement spanning three states in southern Brazil (Perez-Cassarino 2012;
Rover 2011; Rover, Corrado De Gennaro, and Roselli 2016). Ecovidas decen-
tralized, horizontal structure articulates diverse actors through market
arrangements for agroecological products that transform local and regional
food systems.
The multiple market mechanisms used to strengthen agroecological move-
ments correspond to the need for social innovation adapted to different
situations and challenges. Although we question whether AFNs are a necessary
condition, market conditions can determine the rhythm at which agroecology
goes to scale. The cases we studied lead us to suggest that transformative
potential is enhanced when movements use markets as spheres of sociopolitical
action. This process is not necessarily contingent upon state intervention,
although social movements created around these market strategies can influ-
ence state practices and public policy.
Driver 8. Favorable policies and political opportunities
Policies, including private- and public-sector initiatives, can complement and
enhance efforts for scaling agroecology (Parmentier 2014). The most-signifi-
cant examples involve reformulation and roll-back of policies supporting the
reproduction of the agro-industrial model, instead supporting pathways
based upon agroecological principles. Examples include programs for
small-scale farmers in Brazil and Cuba.
State involvement has been present in all our cases of scaling or institu-
tionalization of agroecology, but to variable degrees. Policy assuring access to
land and different types of land reform establishes necessary conditions for
scaling. In Mexicos organic coffee movement, the state had limited involve-
ment, and the dismantling of a state marketing program created a political
opportunity, allowing peasant organizations to influence market arrange-
ments and regulatory frameworks. Similarly, the ZBNF movement in India
emerged from a farmersmovement, and only after the movement gained
strength did the government respond by providing resources for a peasant
agroecology school. In the Cuban and Brazilian cases, the actions of social
movements, including peasant organizations and unions, won significant
state support, including public policies to reinforce movement strategies
contributing to agroecological scaling.
No single policy emerges as essential; rather, combinations of complemen-
tary policies are needed to tackle the various issues at stake in the transfor-
mation of agri-food systems. In Cuba, scientists and farmers demanded
public policies in the farming, education, and market sectors to strengthen
agroecology. Examples include programs to promote biological control,
urban agriculture, organic matter recycling, participatory plant breeding,
backyard livestock, changes in the school curricula, acquisition of agricultural
products by the government, and new stages of land reform policies that
provide peasant access to unproductive land (Machín Sosa et al. 2010,2013).
These agroecologically focused policies prospered within the context of
national policies that maintain high standards of education, health, and
technical capacity for farmers, as well as special-period policies to ensure
farmersaccess to land, credit, and markets.
The WorkersParty governments in Brazil also adopted a long list of
policies to support agroecological practices (Caporal and Petersen 2011;
Petersen, Mussoi, and Soglio 2013), though these policies never threatened
the dominance of the industrial agri-food system and many of them are
being rolled back by the new government that entered via a parliamentary
coup detat (Oliveira and Baccarin 2016; Rosset and Altieri 2017). The latter
reinforces the concern that public policy support can create dependencies
that weaken social movements over time. In Brazil, the cutback of policies
that supported cooperatives and incipient agro-industrial projects for family
farmers means that these enterprises now have difficulty covering their costs
(Oliveira and Baccarin 2016).
Coherence among policies is fundamental (Parmentier 2014), and the
depth of policy changes required for systemic transformation has yet to
materialize. For example, in Brazil, a large country with a strong agricul-
tural-export economy, diverse socioeconomic groups have gained space for
their interests, including peasants and family farmers. However, the sum of
all the policies they have won from the state is tiny in comparison to ongoing
state support for agribusiness (Itaboraí 2013). Small-scale farmers compete
on unequal footing because policies that attempt to promote family farming
and agroecology are in tension with more-entrenched policies that support
large-scale monoculture production. A similar situation is seen in Cuba,
where many national policies now support agroecology, but policy lock-ins
(e.g. institutions) and path dependence (e.g. infrastructure) mean industrial
agriculture dominates the agenda of the Ministry of Agriculture, which hopes
for normalized trade relations.
The five cases of agroecological massification that we analyzed have been
sparked by crises and fueled by strong organizational structures within social
movements capable of channeling the collective response to those crises. This
sort of process gathers strength as constructivist pedagogical methods are
employed, as farmers recognize the efficacy of agroecological practices, and
as alliances enhance momentum. In addition, favorable markets and policies
broaden opportunities for transformation of the agri-food system.
While the relative importance of the drivers for scaling agroecology varies
among the five cases (Table 1), we detect some patterns. Perhaps the most
important of these is that scaling is multidimensional, resulting from con-
vergence of several drivers. Crises were present in all the cases we studied
and in some instances seemed to set scaling processes in motion. However,
successful response to crises and opportunities seems to require a well-
developed, preexisting organizational fabric.
Stated differently, organization and social fabric constitute the culture
medium on which agroecology grows. They provide the structure through
which values, meanings, lessons learned, and horizons of political action
circulate. They also provide opportunities to design and implement processes
like CaC and to link with external allies.
Organizational structureshould not be interpreted as referring to a static
arrangement. Rather, a movements organizational structure can grow as
agroecology is amplified to articulate smaller organizations and extend
their reach. Such was case of Ecovida, where a network was created as part
of the scaling process. Nor does the organizational structure have to be
formal. Indias ZBNF movement escalated through a partially spontaneous
network and through interactions that were not institutionalized. Moreover,
many farmers practice agroecology without formally joining any organiza-
tion. Still, the reach of the organizations may determine to a large extent the
scope for scaling agroecology (Rosset et al. 2011).
Table 1. Relative importance of drivers contributing to agroecological massification in the five
analyzed cases (rated from 1 to 5, consensus of the authors).
America Chiapas India Brasil
Crisis 4 2 .5 3 .5 3 .5 1 .5
Social organization, process 4 3 .5 3 .5 3 .5 3 .5
Effective agroecological practice 3 .5 3 .5 3 .5 3 .5 3
Mobilizing discourse 3 2 2 3 .5 2
Constructivist pedagogy 3 .5 3 .5 2 2 2 .5
External allies 2 .5 3 .5 3 3 3
Favorable markets 2 1 .5 4 1 .5 3 .5
Favorable policies 3 1 .5 2 .5 1 3
Horizontal, constructivist pedagogies and methodologies, such as CaC,
seem to be crucial for bringing agroecology to a territorial scale. The dis-
semination of agroecology and the transformation of productive practices
have been achieved, thanks to such methods, based upon dialog of knowl-
edges. According to Rosset et al. (2011, 1689):
Methods in which the extensionist or agronomist is the key actor and farmers are
passive are, in the best of cases, limited to the number of peasant families that can be
effectively attended to by each technician, because there is little or no self-catalyzed
dynamic among farmers themselves to carry innovations well beyond the last techni-
cian...A fundamental tenet of CaC is that farmers are more likely to believe and
emulate a fellow farmer who is successfully using a given alternative on their own farm
than they are to take the word of an agronomist of possibly urban extraction. . .
Whereas conventional extension can be demobilizing for farmers, CaC is mobilizing,
as they become the protagonists in the process of generating and sharing technologies.
Peasant promoters need thorough preparation in the methodological
approach, lest some of them follow the example of experts from extension
programs by imposing rather than facilitating, and by prescribing methods
rather than participating in processes (Machín Sosa et al. 2010,2013). When
peasant promoters do act like extensionists, the process typically remains
centralized in a few farmers and loses momentum. It is essential that agroe-
cological practice and critical pedagogies walk hand in hand and so that new
proposals can be tailored to new contexts.
In most of the five cases, input substitution strategies proved attractive to
farmers. However, we maintain that agroecology movements need to move
beyond input substitution to benefit from synergistic interactions in more
fully integrated agroecological systems (Vandermeer and Perfecto 1997;
Morales 2002; Gliessman 2015). However, this transition is well developed
only in the Cuban case (Rosset et al. 2011). These observations raise impor-
tant questions about processes of transition and transformation, such as,
would it be possible to start with greater complexity and an emphasis on
prevention? Or is it best to first capture the attention of farmers with the
quick results obtainable through input substitution? Might a focus upon
input substitution perpetuate linear, cause-and-effect, recipethinking?
Can framing around traditional cosmovisions promote complex thinking
and practice, through ways of knowing that recognize the interconnectivity
among agroecosystem elements (Aldasoro 2012)?
The processes we studied were championed and led by peasants and
farmers. Indeed, peasant farming and protagonism are at the center of
farmersmovements and agroecology alike, leading to a natural affinity.
Van Der Ploeg (2013) suggests and our cases corroborate that agroecol-
ogy appeals to farmers in part because it diminishes their dependencies and
builds their autonomy. Thus, agroecological movements are strongest when
not overly dependent upon external structures originating from NGO
projects, research institutions, or public policies. On the contrary, agroeco-
logical movements foster constant conformation of farmer and peasant
leadership that gives them leverage and strength.
Even so, in the cases analyzed, the role of the external allies has been
important. One lesson is that while it is necessary that farmersorganizations
manage the process, external allies can play a fundamental role by contribut-
ing to specific aspects that the organizations cannot cover adequately on their
own. Moreover, on a more normative note, the deep transformation that
agroecological movements are advocating will require sharing of the struggle
and costs be they material, political, or cultural among different groups in
society. Loading all the required effort onto the farmers may impose a limit
on scaling. At a certain point, alliances (including dialogos de saberes) then
become critical for strengthening agroecological knowledge and ruralurban
linkages, as well as for influencing policy and market dynamics.
We and many other authors believe that the participation of women is
critical to scaling agroecology (Parmentier 2014; Siliprandi 2015; Siliprandi
and Zuluaga 2014). With the exception of the CaC movement (Holt-
Giménez 2006), we did not find evidence that womens involvement was
explicitly fostered in the cases we studied. Yet women play diverse roles in
agriculture, and their traditional responsibility for nurturing families and
communities, mentally and physically, gives women a profound and complex
understanding of agri-food systems (Allen and Sachs 2012). In addition,
women have undertaken leadership in movements to advance and develop
agroecology and resist unjust agrarian models and territorial exploitation
(Martínez-Alier 2002; Siliprandi 2015; Tait 2015; Tapia 2016). Our field
experience and reading lead us to believe that in many or perhaps most
cases, it is women who encourage and implement agroecological change
within families, both directly and by influencing men (Siliprandi 2015). Holt-
Giménez (2006) notes that women are often the guardians of biodiversity in
fields and gardens and have a strong influence in decisions about which
crops and varieties to plant.
In the same way, it is important to understand the role of youth in
agroecological scaling. Although youth were not central to the cases we
analyzed, peasant movements are currently emphasizing youth leadership
and training (McCune, Reardon, and Rosset 2014; Barbosa and Rosset
2017; McCune et al. 2016,2017). Young people who stay in the countryside
or return to it usually have a more agroecological vision than the previous
generation. Youth seem to be advancing agroecology (McCune et al. 2016,
2017), and agroecological schools equip young peasants with both technical
and political skills.
Public policies were not among the most important early drivers of scaling
in the cases we analyzed. Typically, such policies had to be won through the
movementsadvocacy or struggles and on the basis of successes already
achieved. For example, ANAPs influence on Cuban policies was propor-
tional to that bottom-up movements ability to boost agroecological produc-
tion. Brazilian policies in favor of agroecology and family farming were won
by the struggle of peasant and family-farm social movements, with the help
of allies in NGOs and other sectors. Even where favorable policies were in
place when movements began, those policies tended to contribute only after
the scaling processes had already gained momentum.
Parmentier (2014, p.59) argues that unlocking ideological barriers to
political recognition of the socioeconomic and environmental importance
of farmers and agroecologyis crucial in the policy-making process.
However, in the cases analyzed here, changes in policies have by and large
been marginal. Even the inclusion of food sovereignty in countriesconstitu-
tions (e.g. Ecuador) has had little effect so far. The governments of Bolivia,
Uruguay, and Argentina have given lip service to agroecology, but their
overarching political economies remain hostile (Montagut, Gascón, and
Riera 2010; Vergara-Camus and Kay 2017).
A further complication is that policies promoting the institutionalization
of agroecology may cause farmersorganizations to lose control of the
massification process, thereby weakening movements (Levidow, Pimbert
and Valorqueren 2014; Giraldo and Rosset 2016,2017). Another risk, asso-
ciated with the current trend toward institutionalization of agroecology in
the FAO and other national and international venues (Giraldo and Rosset
2016,2017), is the cooptation and capture of agroecologypolicies by
agribusinesses eager to be greenwashed.
we explored lead us to suggest that while markets can attract people to
agroecology, scaling based principally upon market opportunities can be
vulnerable to external changes. Thus, market mechanisms should be
designed to strengthen social movements, not to be a central driving
force thereof. Markets have not been indispensable to the increase in
agroecological production, but failure to consider markets can be an
Achilles heel. Markets contribute most to agroecology movements in
cases like Rede Ecovida and Chiapass organic coffee production, where
they are nested within networks whose unifying elements are environmen-
tal and social values. Rede Ecovida assures compliance with those values
through a participatory guarantee system that builds internal capacity and
relationships rather than perpetuating reliance on external certification
(Radomsky and Leal 2016). Alliances created around market mechanisms
have the potential to extend the reach of agroecologys transformative
power to realms other than production. We note, too, that large-scale
transformation of agri-food systems will be difficult until demand for
agroecological products increases and until stronger relationships between
producers and conscious consumers are developed.
Conclusions: a new field of research and construction of alternatives?
In this analysis, we have identified eight drivers that were important, to
varying degrees, in the scaling of agroecology in five cases that we consider
emblematic. The analysis is preliminary and does not fully address ele-
ments such as the roles of women and youth nor transformations at the
scale of alternative food regimes. Nevertheless, we believe that the patterns
revealed contribute to understanding of agroecological scaling in diverse
We have barely addressed interactions among the various dimensions of
agroecological scaling and the importance of the qualityof each in
particular cases. Much more detail is needed on how these dimensions
can interact to generate positive feedback. In particular, we believe it
important to advance research that systematically studies how public
policies can accompany existing efforts, helping them grow more autono-
mous and better organized rather than generating risky dependencies.
Research is also needed on the role of public policy in catalyzing the
emergence of new processes.
We have focused upon aspects that favor the scaling of agroecology, but
we should not ignore the importance of analyzing elements that limit the
expansion of agroecology. Those elements include paternalistic, clientelistic,
demobilizing relations; public policies that facilitate land concentration and
land grabbing; and actions of governments and international and market
institutions that foster the expansion of agribusiness and industrial mono-
cultures (Giraldo 2018; Rosset and Altieri 2017). Nor have we considered
other obstacles, such as the lack of organization and/or mobilizing leader-
ship, the hegemonic power of the dominant agricultural development para-
digm, and the insidious effects of the coloniality of knowledge. We need to
deepen an understanding of how to scale agroecology in the context of
neoliberal globalization, where these limiting aspects constitute the rule
rather than the exception.
Scaling of agroecology is both a relatively new research field and a real-world
phenomenon with great potential (Parmentier 2008; De Schutter 2010b). The
havoc being caused by the Green Revolution model makes scaling urgent:
agroecology must transcend individual plots and farms, to become the norm
on the scale of territories, ruralurban constellations, and nations (Gliessman
2015;Rosset2015; Rosset and Altieri 2017), extending to the global agri-food
system, level 5 in Gliessmans(2015) scale of agroecological conversion. We
believe that this expansion requires greater capacity for articulating the ecolo-
gical and social-science aspects of agroecology and for transdisciplinary asso-
ciations with social movements that defy corporate agribusiness and the
industrial agri-food system while building alternatives (Méndez, Bacon, and
Cohen 2013; Ferguson 2015).
This research was partially funded by CONACYT (Proyect 2529). Peter Rosset was partially
supported in this research by the Processo CAPES PVE-Edital 65/2014, no. 23038.010102/
2013-34 Programa Professor Visitante do Exterior of the Government of Brazil, at the
Universidade Federal de Ceará (UFC).
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... It should be noted that agroecology is currently marginalized in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union and in the policies of most Member States, even within their agri-environmental schemes [21]. Favorable public policies are necessary for the scaling up of agroecological practices [22]; however, social movements face risks when they allow themselves to become involved in collaborations with the state to scale up agroecology through public policies [23]. In the case of Paraguay, the low level of support from the State has led to the weak implementation of the guidelines established as a National Concerted Plan since 2012 for the agroecological and organic sector, which did not receive the prioritization it deserved [24]. ...
... Regarding the concept of the need to expand and extend market niches, which is seen as a factor limiting the consolidation of agroecology, in addition to the promotion of the resilience of traditional agricultural systems and the creation of agroecological beacons from which these principles can radiate to local communities, it is necessary to implement favorable policies and market arrangements in order to render the expansion of agroecology economically viable [22,25]. A case study in Paraguay identified biophysical circuits of agroecological products in rural farms centered on the proximity of the market and the links of local actors who mutually support each other and whose positive evolution strategies place strong emphasis on the capacities and growth of local social groups, technical strengthening, and specific commercial links [26]. ...
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This paper explores the imaginary of different actors in Paraguay regarding agroecology and whether they contain any similarities. This study used an exploratory, hermeneutic phenomenological approach as its interpretative framework and focused on six key actors: the central government, subgovernmental entities, the private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), farmers’ associations, and academia. The analysis revealed that there are some similarities of imaginaries regarding agroecology’s role as a holistic, integral paradigm that contributes to the sustainability and resilience of the ecosystem, with it being perceived as a practice aimed at small producers with defined niches. The lack of political or state support for small production systems was also evident. Production costs (high for some, low for others) and market niches were mentioned as controversial issues. The results show that the different actors’ imaginaries are not so divergent as to disrupt agroecological practice and indicate the need to conduct more in-depth research to determine what factors affect Paraguayans’ practices or habitus regarding production and their link with nature.
... La agroecología definida como ciencia, conjunto de prácticas y movimiento social (Wezel et al., 2009), tiene como desafío escalar a través de estrategias como políticas de apoyo, a nivel de mercados, educación, formación, extensión, créditos y discursos, con la socialización de prácticas agroecológicas y en profundidad, con innovaciones campesinas para aumentar la producción de alimentos, mantener el bienestar y regenerar los recursos naturales (Rosset y Altieri, 2018;Brescia, 2017), con 8 impulsores claves para su escalamiento, entre estos el aprendizaje constructivista, resaltado para este caso, que unido a la multidimensional de la agroecología, facilita superar la fragmentación y segmentación del conocimiento en las prácticas de la enseñanza, con procesos participativos entre los actores sociales y con una formación holística, resolver de manera propositiva los problemas del territorio (Giménez Cacho et al., 2018;Rosset y Altieri, 2018;Brescia, 2017;Dussi, Flores y Barrionuevo, 2014). ...
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... The model approaches learning by scaling out. Knowledge is transferred horizontally, often through grassroots social movement networks (Mier y Terán et al., 2018). In the past decade across the USA, university Extension programs have launched various racial equity initiatives (see, for example, NCSU CEFS Committee on Racial Equity in the Food System, and MSU Center For Regional Food Systems Racial Equity in the Food System Workgroup). ...
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Collaboration between farmers and other farm support professionals is a critical tool for food systems transformation. Collaborative research and outreach can address structural inequalities that limit the success of immigrant and minority growers and uplift farmer knowledge, which has been systemically valued below that of academic knowledge. Agroecologists who work at the synthesis of science, movement, and practice propose wisdom dialogues and horizontalism as principles by which to develop collaborations that avoid reinforcing structural inequalities due to race, gender, and traditions of valuing academic knowledge above that of farmers. Public entities, such as land grant universities and state agencies, have a particular responsibility to address structural inequalities and serve the diversity of farmers in their region. This study examines the use of collaborative learning processes, such as wisdom dialogues and horizontalism, by public and non-profit professionals in their collaborations with a group of immigrant farmers in the Upper Midwest. We used a qualitative interview approach with two farmers, two of their advisers, and eight of their collaborators at the University of Minnesota Extension, Department of Agriculture, and a local agricultural non-profit. Through the interviews we examined each of their perspectives on current and potential collaborations by discussing the motivations, resources, and effects for and of collaboration between immigrant farmers and farm support professionals. Farmer interviewees emphasized that collaborations between immigrant and non-immigrant individuals and groups must develop with non-exploitative motivations and preparation undertaken by non-immigrant individuals to better understand the experience of immigrant farmer prior to engaging in collaboration. Emergent themes from interviews with non-farmers included a strong commitment to providing access to knowledge and resources, and recognition that collaboration improved the ability to accomplish institutional goals, indicating use of wisdom dialogues and horizontal learning at varying levels within current work. Interviewees emphasized that institutional support was an important determinant for how much they could prioritize relationships and collaboration in their work. Based on interviewees' experiences, support and continued opportunities for learning are critical to facilitate continued use of wisdom dialogues and horizontalism to address different conceptions of equity and equality, and for developing intentional and mutually beneficial collaborations.
... local food plan, school canteens), all of which contribute to innovations and regulations. Four approaches seem to be essential to support broad-based transitions and scaling up: (i) performance assessments that emphasize resilience to hazards, coverage of ecosystem services, and gains in sustainability in environmental, social, and economic dimensions (Tittonell 2020); (ii) modeling, to better predict the evolution of agricultural systems at different times and over different periods, better manage new agroecosystems, and help identify dead ends, risks, and capacities for robustness and resilience (e.g., Padro et al. 2020); (iii) social learning, through sharing experiences and knowledge of various origins (Gimenez Cacho et al. 2018) in a participatoryscience approach (Mendez et al. 2017) to broaden the Table 2 Main research-issue-specific themes and sub-themes specific to agroecology, from a prospective exercise performed at INRAE. (G: genetic, M: microbial, E: environment, C: cropping, P: product). ...
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A profound transformation of agricultural production methods has become unavoidable due to the increase in the world’s population, and environmental and climatic challenges. Agroecology is now recognized as a challenging model for agricultural systems, promoting their diversification and adaptation to environmental and socio-economic contexts, with consequences for the entire agri-food system and the development of rural and urban areas. Through a prospective exercise performed at a large interdisciplinary institute, INRAE, a research agenda for agroecology was built that filled a gap through its ambition and interdisciplinarity. It concerned six topics. For genetics, there is a need to study genetic aspects of complex systems (e.g., mixtures of genotypes) and to develop breeding methods for them. For landscapes, challenges lie in effects of heterogeneity at multiple scales, in multifunctionality and in the design of agroecological landscapes. Agricultural equipment and digital technologies show high potential for monitoring dynamics of agroecosystems. For modeling, challenges include approaches to complexity, consideration of spatial and temporal dimensions and representation of the cascade from cropping practices to ecosystem services. The agroecological transition of farms calls for modeling and observational approaches as well as for creating new design methods. Integration of agroecology into food systems raises the issues of product specificity, consumer behavior and organization of markets, standards and public policies. In addition, transversal priorities were identified: (i) generating sets of biological data, through research and participatory mechanisms, that are appropriate for designing agroecological systems and (ii) collecting and using coherent sets of data to enable assessment of vulnerability, resilience and risk in order to evaluate the performance of agroecological systems and to contribute to scaling up. The main lessons learned from this collective exercise can be useful for the entire scientific community engaged in research into agroecology.
... La agroecología definida como ciencia, conjunto de prácticas y movimiento social (Wezel et al., 2009), tiene como desafío escalar a través de estrategias como políticas de apoyo, a nivel de mercados, educación, formación, extensión, créditos y discursos, con la socialización de prácticas agroecológicas y en profundidad, con innovaciones campesinas para aumentar la producción de alimentos, mantener el bienestar y regenerar los recursos naturales (Rosset y Altieri, 2018;Brescia, 2017), con 8 impulsores claves para su escalamiento, entre estos el aprendizaje constructivista, resaltado para este caso, que unido a la multidimensional de la agroecología, facilita superar la fragmentación y segmentación del conocimiento en las prácticas de la enseñanza, con procesos participativos entre los actores sociales y con una formación holística, resolver de manera propositiva los problemas del territorio (Giménez Cacho et al., 2018;Rosset y Altieri, 2018;Brescia, 2017;Dussi, Flores y Barrionuevo, 2014). ...
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Resumen: El Movimiento Agroecológico de Zona da Mata está inserto en una compleja constelación de actores con interacciones múltiples. Se nota un proceso de territorialización en curso, de escala significativa. Con base en revisión de literatura, consulta a actores clave y en la observación participante, se concluye que algunos hechos ancestrales (impulsores) han posibilitado el contexto presente. Se nota que el proceso analizado es compatible al teorizado en el campo de la masificación de la agroecología y que trae aportes nuevos agrupados en cuatro categorías (principal impulsor de la bibliografía + síntesis de los aspectos nuevos): 1. la articulación al Movimiento Agroecológico de Brasil (organización social + cohesión); 2. los hechos agroecológicos que marcaron la región (organización social + historia biocultural); 3. la dimensión educativa (procesos de aprendizaje constructivista + la transformación de los territorios simbólicos); 4. la creación de un ambiente favorable a alianzas (alianzas externas + creación de constelaciones). Palabras-clave: Territorialización de la Agroecología; Educación Transformadora; Historia Biocultural; Movilización social; Movimiento Agroecológico de Brasil. Introducción-ubicando el caso El Movimiento Agroecológico de Brasil i , como han dicho MONTEIRO y LONDRES (2017, p. 53), "está visceralmente conectado a la historia de las luchas por la democratización del país". La dictadura militar, de 1964 hasta 1985, coincidió con el periodo de la imposición más intensa de la Revolución Verde por el Estado. Hecho que ayuda a comprender cómo la dimensión científica, práctica y del movimiento social de la Agroecología en Brasil están tan relacionados.
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Agriculture plays a vital role in the process of socioal economical hormonic development In India agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for about 38 percent of the population (IBEP, 2021) and approximately 70 percent of the rural households depend on agriculare only. The agriculture incastry plays a significant part in the Indian economy, accounting for and 20% of Gross Domestic product (GDP). Around 62 percent of India's popolation is reliant on it for survived . Agame is a curial sector of Indian commbares economy as it connibutes about 20.19 percent of GDP (DAC&FW Anal Report, 20020-21). Ealy in the restory, agculture was done for the domestic purpose only, as the time passes new technologies and developments were made to enhance the cmp production and people started earning from agmina too. But there are several adversities that emerged in the socioeconomic areas along with the eminental hazars
Addressing human and social values is a core element of agroecology, including questions of equity and social justice in food systems, supporting autonomy and well-being of food producers, fostering meaningful, dignified forms of food systems work, and reshaping ways of interacting with nonhuman species and ecosystems. In this article, we review peer-reviewed literature related to human and social values in agroecology. We identified a growing social science literature on agroecology and related social theory. We organized and summarized our review around the following themes: social well-being, livelihoods, meaningful work, and gender and social equity. There is considerable evidence that agroecology can improve social well-being, in part through increased food security and improved dietary diversity, which often contributes to culturally meaningful foodways. There is less literature demonstrating how agroecological approaches can increase people’s livelihoods through increased income, reduced dependence on inputs, greater financial autonomy, and increased self-provisioning. In some cases, more embedded local markets build connections between producers and consumers and increase employment. Some case studies of agroecological territories point to the salience of understanding how to shift discourses and support social innovations. While there is evidence that agroecology offers an alternative path away from industrial approaches to agriculture, there is minimal research on the meaningful and dignified nature of that work itself. There is also limited research on gendered implications of agroecology, such as impacts on care work, although emerging literature points to transformative methods that address structural inequities for women and other marginalized groups in agroecological initiatives. There is a small but growing literature on racial inequities and agroecology, primarily in the Americas. Major research gaps include racial inequity and agroecology in different cultural contexts, the health impacts of agroecology, such as through the reduced use of pesticides, and the meaningfulness of work derived from a shift to agroecology.
Since the end of the second World War, the landscapes of the U.S. Corn Belt have increasingly been dominated by large-scale, industrialized agricultural production. Although not without its benefits, industrial agriculture has been shown to be detrimental to the social and ecological fabric of rural communities and beyond. In response, state and federal policy has encouraged farmers to adopt a limited number of strategies that may reduce the negative externalities of industrial agriculture. However, a growing body of research argues that to achieve transformative environmental and social change, the U.S. must transition to alternative food and farming systems. This study explores the potential of such transformative change by integrating the concept of the “good farmer” within a place-making framework to allow us to examine the shared understandings of place among farmers of an Illinois watershed. Through semi-structured interviews, we analyzed the experiences of 17 farmers, focusing on their management practices, connection to the land, and the centrality of farming to their lives. In addition, we interviewed eight non-farmers whose careers or family life were directly connected to local agriculture. The results of our analysis found that the farmers in our study have incorporated a good farmer identity that goes beyond the highly visible productivist notions of faming. The place-meanings of family legacy, stewarding a viable future, and caring for the land were found to be as important to farmers as profit-making and efficiency of their operations. Our findings suggest that a transition to alternative farming systems would likely align with the identity and shared place-meanings of the farmers in our study. Programs and policies intending to facilitate a transition away from productivist systems of farming in the Corn Belt should be designed to support the farmer-held meanings of family legacy, farm viability, and care.
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E ste libro representa un esfuerzo colectivo de investigadoras e investigadores que, desde diversos lugares de enunciación, comparten lecturas y análisis sobre el proceso agroecológico nacional, a partir de una perspectiva reflexiva y crítica. Consideramos que la agroecología venezolana es fruto de diversos focos de acción y variadas formas de pensar que han tenido lugar a lo largo del tiempo y en diferentes espacios: un árbol con múltiples raíces. Sin embargo, muchos actores coinciden en que, a partir de 1999, cuando se promulga la Constitución de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela (CRBV), se establece un hito en lo que ha sido la masificación de la agroecología en el país, tanto de su praxis como del pensamiento sobre el que se fundamenta. Si bien, la totalidad del articulado de la nueva Constitución implicó la refundación de numerosas instituciones, leyes, formas de gobierno, y un amplio, etcétera, debe destacarse que su espíritu marcó una nueva concepción de la subjetividad nacional. Un tema amplio y de mucho interés para comprender la historia venezolana del siglo XXI; de nuestra parte, los ensayos que conforman este libro se sitúan en torno a unos muy pocos artículos relacionados con las políticas agrícolas que moldeaban a la nueva república. Sin lugar a dudas, luego de más de medio siglo anclados al discurso único e ineludible del modelo agrícola industrial, la sola expresión de agricultura sustentable reflejada en el artículo 305 de la CRBV sentó las bases de una anhelada transformación por parte de numerosos movimientos populares, sectores sociales y espacios de formación, además que prefiguró un nuevo horizonte de sentido a los diversos marcos legales que, de allí, se generaron en los siguientes años.
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O presente artigo revisita a política pública de Segurança Alimentar e Nutricional (SAN) no Brasil para discutir o desafio contemporâneo do consumo de alimentos saudáveis e de qualidade mediante a era da globalização e do uso de agrotóxicos. Problematizam-se o processo de globalização hegemônico, imposto pelo modelo de desenvolvimento capitalista, e os impactos desse mimetismo na saúde e qualidade de vida das pessoas de uma nação, apresentando dados alarmantes relacionados à obesidade no Brasil. Buscam-se autores no campo da economia para conceituar o que vem a ser o desenvolvimento de uma nação, rompendo com o pensamento economicista e avançando na busca de uma abordagem na qual pessoas e natureza possam de fato ser consideradas. Foram adotados os seguintes procedimentos metodológicos: pesquisa bibliográfica sobre temas como desenvolvimento, território, agroecologia, soberania alimentar e políticas públicas relacionadas, além de pesquisa em bases de dados secundárias como o Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE), Instituto Nacional do Câncer (INCA), Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária (ANVISA), Organização Pan-americana de Saúde (OPAS), Organização Mundial da Saúde (OMS) e Ministério da Saúde. Como resultado, percebe-se que é preciso repensar o território e o papel das políticas públicas [no âmbito do Desenvolvimento Territorial Sustentável] fomentando iniciativas locais, as quais possam gerar processos de libertação e que rompam as práticas globalitaristas impostas em nossa sociedade. Palavras-chave: Desenvolvimento Territorial Sustentável. Políticas Públicas. Soberania Alimentar.
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This is a timely and excellent book by two world leaders of agroecological thought and practice. In this highly readable book, Peter Rosset and Miguel Altieri offer a clear analysis of the principles of agroecology and its potential to address major social, economic and environmental challenges of food and farming in the 21st century. Most notably, the book demonstrates the importance of social organization, peasant agroecology schools and social movements for bringing agroecology to scale. By focusing on the contested nature of the science of agroecology and its contemporary politics, the authors invite the reader to embrace an agroecology that transforms rather than conforms with the dominant agri-food regime. A stimulating read! Michel Pimbert, Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University Agroecology: Science and Politics by Peter Rosset and Miguel Altieri will be an important book that does an excellent job at summarizing what agroecology is as a science, a practice and a movement, as well as the debates that are currently going on regarding agroecology. Ivette Perfecto, George W. Pack Professor of Natural Resources, University of Michigan This small book has a very important message for the agroecology movement as well as for each of us as agroecologists. The scientific basis of agroecology and how agroecology confronts the industrial agriculture model is now broadly accepted, but how this approach can overcome the political and economic power of this model is much more controversial. This book clearly and forcefully states that agroecology must also address the politics of the food system, who has power and control, and how what might be called political agroecology must be included so that deep change can occur. We must heed this call to action! Steve Gliessman, Professor Emeritus of Agroecology, UC Santa Cruz, author of Agroecology: The Ecology of Sustainable Food Systems In this short, straightforward book, two of the world's foremost experts in agroecol-ogy team-up to lay out the historical, scientific, and political basics of agroecology. As this timely publication makes clear, the recent rise of agroecology in official discourses on hunger and climate change is not just because of agroecology's relevance to the urgent challenges of our time it is a reflection of the struggle between farmers and scientists committed to a socially and ecologically rational food system,
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En Cuba, la profunda crisis agroalimentaria sufrida a finales del siglo pasado desencadenó un replanteamiento del modelo agroalimentario y un retorno a la producción campesina. El objetivo general de este trabajo es indagar si el proceso de (re)campesinización y producción agroecológica adoptado como estrategia de supervivencia, hoy podría constituir una propuesta alternativa de producción y de vida al paradigma del desarrollo de la modernidad hegemónica. Esta reflexión crítica emerge en diálogo con un grupo de campesinos/as asociados/as a la Cooperativa de Créditos y Servicios “Ignacio Pérez Ríos” (CCS-IPR), participantes del Movimiento Agroecológico Campesino a Campesino (MACAC) de la Asociación Nacional de Agricultores Pequeños (ANAP) en las lomas del Escambray, Municipio de Manicaragua, provincia de Villa Clara. En este trabajo el concepto de (re)campesinización tiene múltiples acepciones; por el retorno efectivo de la fuerza laboral al trabajo agrícola, por la resignificación y la reconfiguración del modelo productivo, así como por las reflexión y (re-)articulación de las formas de ser, estar y habitar el mundo en ese retorno agroecológico. Así la agroecología adquiere un potencial revolucionario contrahegemónico y radical, con un replanteo profundo de las relaciones sociales y ambientales originadas desde la alteridad ontológica, desde espacios de enunciación y epistemes que (re-)emergen ante la crisis socio-ambiental como alternativas y críticas al paradigma de la modernidad hegemónica, del capital y el desarrollo. Una crítica radical válida tanto para el capitalismo depredador, como para el socialismo desarrollista del siglo XX. Este trabajo se presenta en un formato experimental con una estructura en dos columnas, intentando dar cuenta de un mismo fenómeno social, en un relato polifónico, desde diferentes puntos de vista, múltiples formas de lenguaje y una variada textura narrativa.
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Resumen Los libros Transformando el campo cubano y Sustainable Agriculture and Resistance, narraron el inicio de la agricultura sostenible cubana, mostraron lo logrado de ejemplo mundial, pero hoy informamos los avances al pasar de agricultura de sustitución de insumos a agroecología. Este libro, recoge aspectos de agricultura urbana y suburbana, programa campesino a campesino, fincas forestales integrales, biodigestores, microorganismos nativos, integración agricultura/animales, innovación local, capacitación y otros, con aportes de Miguel Altieri, Peter Rosset, Eric Holt. En 600 páginas, 7 Secciones, 37 capítulos de interés e impacto, recuadros de 20 experiencias concretas y encarte a color de 16 páginas informa avances de la agroecología cubana. Aporta resultados de agricultores y técnicos aplicando sistemas agroecológicos, para producir alimentos para la población, con eficiencia productiva, económica, energética, ambiental y saludable para los seres humanos. Palabras clave: Cuba, sistemas agroecológicos, innovación local Abstract The books Transformando el Campo Cubano and Sustainable Agriculture and Resistance, informed the beginnings of Cuban sustainable agriculture, showing the successesas a world example, but today are informing the advances in the process from an inputs substitution agriculture to agroecology. This book include aspects such as urban agriculture, peasant to peasant program, integral forestry farms, biodigestors, native microorganisms, agriculture/animals integration, local innovation, and others, with contributios from Miguel Altieri, Peter Rosset and Eric Holt. In 600 pages, 7 sections, 37 chapters of interest and impact, 20 abstracts with concrete experiences, and a 16 colour charts, informing advances of Cuban agroecology. Show results of farmers and technicals by applying agroecology systems, for producing foods for the population with productive, economic, energetic, environmental and healthy efficiency for the human beigns.
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Esta obra ofrece una propuesta original para pensar críticamente las relaciones de poder existentes en la agricultura contemporánea. En ella, el autor intenta esclarecer algunas de las estrategias que el agronegocio industrial, en contubernio con los aparatos estatales y multilaterales, pone en marcha, con el propósito de volver funcional la vida de millones de agricultores, de modo que sus cuerpos, enunciaciones y sensibilidades, resulten útiles a las dinámicas de acumulación de capital. El argumento parte de la idea según la cual, el agroextractivismo no puede pensarse exclusivamente como un sistema económico-político y tecnológico, sino como una compleja imbricación de significaciones culturales, de estéticas y afectos, que, amalgamados bajo el abstracto nombre del “desarrollo”, sirven de soporte a todo el andamiaje del sistema. El libro también muestra la otra cara de la moneda, describiendo cómo, y bajo qué condiciones, los movimientos sociales están respondiendo ante las calamidades generadas por este modelo. La tesis central consiste en que muchos procesos agroecológicos en curso, están dando una de las pautas más interesantes en la actualidad para visualizar las transiciones hacia el posdesarrollo, el posextractivismo, y la construcción de múltiples mundos más allá de la esfera del capital. Ecología política de la agricultura se suma a los llamados que cuestionan el proyecto cultural de la modernidad y el sentido depredador impuesto por el imperio alimentario globalizado, e invita a reconocer la importancia de la agroecología en el contexto del final de la era de los combustibles fósiles, y el probable colapso de la civilización basada en la industria.
Neste trabalho serão apresentados tópicos relacionados a organização e execução do Programa de Aquisição de Alimentos da Agricultura Familiar (PAA), entre 2003-2012 no Brasil. Para tanto foram usadas as informações divulgadas pela Companhia Nacional de Abastecimento (CONAB) relacionadas as modalidades Compra com doação Simultânea, Formação de Estoque e Compra Direta da Agricultura Familiar. De acordo com os Balanços de Avaliação da Execução do Programa de Aquisição de Alimentos, disponibilizados pela Secretaria de Avaliação e Gestão da Informações (SAGI), a CONAB é o maior comprador do PAA, respondendo integralmente pelas modalidades Compra Direta da Agricultura Familiar, Formação de Estoque e, parcialmente, pela modalidade Compra com Doação Simultânea, executada também por estados e municípios, via assinatura de convênios ou termos de adesão com o Governo Federal. O PAA obteve avanços significativos entre 2003-2012, sobretudo no que diz respeito ao número de recursos aplicados, quantidade de alimentos e número agricultores familiares atendidos no Brasil. Em relação a espacialização e organização do Programa destaca-se a Região Sul como a mais beneficiadas pelas ações do PAA, embora a Região Nordeste apresentou crescimento expressivo quanto aos recursos e agricultores beneficiados. Conclui-se que o PAA vem apontando um caminho construtivo para agricultura familiar brasileira, embora o Programa precisa se ajustar as disparidades do regionalismo brasileiro.
This new edition builds on the explosion of research on sustainable agriculture since the late 1980s. By separating myth from reality, Miguel Altieri extracts the key principles of sustainable agriculture and expounds on management systems that “really work.” Providing case studies of sustainable rural development in developing countries, he goes beyond a mere description of practices to include data that reveal the socioeconomic and environmental impacts of alternative projects. Each chapter of Agroecology has been enriched and updated with the latest research results from around the world. New emphasis has been placed on such issues as the ecological economics of agriculture, policy changes needed for promoting sustainable agriculture, rural development in the Third World, the role of biodiversity in agriculture, and new research methodologies.