Agroecology Now! Transformations Towards More Just and Sustainable Food Systems

Authors: Colin Anderson*, Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience at Coventry University, Janneke Bruil, Cultivate! Collective, Jahi Chappell, Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Csilla Kiss, Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Michel Pimbert, Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience
Topics: Food Systems, Rural Geography
Keywords: agroecology, sustainability transitions, food sovereignty, transformation, governance, food systems
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 12
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Agroecology has been characterized as a science a practice and a movement – and all of these at once. It is an approach to food systems that mimics nature, stresses the importance of local knowledge and participatory processes and that prioritizes the agency and voice of food producers and citizens over the elite interests that prevail in the dominant regime. Agroecology is increasingly viewed as viable, necessary and politically possible as the folly of ‘business as usual’ have been laid bare. Yet, how to best scale up and out, massify and amplify agroecology is still poorly understood. This talk, based on a forthcoming open-access book from Palgrave, will lay out a framework for advancing ‘agroecology transformations’, focusing on issues of power and governance as the decisive dimension of change. We analyze the conditions that enable and disable agroecology’s potential across six ‘domains of transformation’ where it comes into conflict with the dominant food regime. The second part of the framework presents a typology of ‘six effects of governance innovations’. Those that undermine agroecology by (i) suppressing and (ii) co-opting; those that maintain the status quo by (iii) containing and (iv) shielding and those that enable transformative agroecology by supporting and nurturing and (vi) releasing and anchoring. The analysis draws from political ecology and the multi-level perspective on sustainability transitions, ultimately making the case for food sovereignty, community-self organization and a shift to bottom-up governance as the basis for transformation towards a socially just and ecologically regenerative food system.

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