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  • What is Agroecology?

  • MESA Program

    Administrator
    May 31, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    After watching the video and reading the above information, what is an accurate and comprehensive definition of agroecology for you?

  • Maggie

    Member
    June 25, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    From reading the material and watching the video, agroecology has a broad definition. During my pre-lesson quiz, I defined it as a method of agricultural production that focused on biodiversity to obtain profitable and productive yields while maintaining environmental sanctity. Now this definition seems too narrow.

    While true that by using biodiversity small scale farmers are able to maintain profitability, it seems that the term ‘agroecology’ actually refers more to human/environment interaction than I previously thought. By giving choice to smallholder farmers (pastoralists, hunter/gatherers, fisherpeople, indigenous people), the effects of agroecology weave through rural communities. By taking this choice away from smallholders — such as was the case in South African fishing legislation (seen in the video) — people in rural communities are stripped of their careers, but furthermore, their culture, their food sovereignty.

    Therefore, my new definition of agroecology must reflect this:

    Agroecology is the ability to produce food in a manner that reflects the community or the system in which it is developed. Defined by its distinct interest in maintaining economic, environmental and social sustainability for the peoples and species involved within the food chain. Therefore, the goal for agroecology lies in food sovereignty — the ability to choose how and what to grow dependent upon the conditions of the land and the people.

    • Anandi

      Member
      June 3, 2017 at 11:20 pm

      I believe that my experience of and impression of Agroecology is synonymous with what was presented by most of the farmers in the video and in the lesson.

      Agroecology is a system which works in harmony with Mother Nature to grow food with the practice of ecological design centered around specific bio-regions; it is customized for diverse cultural practices and for global food systems; it is a way of working with inhabitants of the planet of all species to cultivate culturally appreciated crops sustainably; it is a way to utilize natural resources and ecosystem resources with respect and reverence for the value of these ecosystem services.

      • This reply was modified 2 years, 3 months ago by  Anandi. Reason: wrong place
      • This reply was modified 2 years, 3 months ago by  Anandi.
      • Katie Brimm

        Administrator
        July 4, 2017 at 3:46 pm

        Hi Anandi,

        Beautiful response! I appreciate the ‘reverence’ you bring to the topic. Your response is very grounded in the movement for food sovereignty as well, as you point to how agroecology is grounded in bio-regions and customized for specific cultures worldwide. This is such a key to Agroecology, and brings up challenges to the questions about “How do we scale up agroecology?”. Perhaps, this is the wrong question, as it should fit the community, culture and environment within which it is being practiced.

  • Samuel

    Member
    June 28, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    Agro ecology is the traditional way of farming, crop or animal production in any given community. Its a way of food and animal production which is sustanaible and meets all key elememts in a community like social, economical and environmental aspects. Agroecology aslo supports food sovereinity and ability of small scale farmers to have their own ways of farming without depending on external inputs wich are not friendly to people and environment as well as are expensive to most small scale farmers. Agroecology is an inexpensive and environmental friendly method of food and animal production, which was practiced way before the introduction of commercial and corporation large scale farming methods in the current modern world.

  • Kazuto

    Member
    June 29, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    Agroecology is the study of how to optimize a cultivation system in which people can control pest or weed and enhance a productivity of total amount of products from a garden by designing and managing the ecosystem in a crop field and how to practice it in each region. That includes considering how people and society can practice it sustainably in socioeconomically and culturally acceptable way.

  • Abosede

    Member
    June 29, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    Agroecology to me is a system where the indeginous culture of a community is preserved in any form which serves as a means of livelihood to that community and which makes them unique as a group of people.

  • Maggie

    Member
    June 30, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    Agroecology is community. It is the ability to incorporate people into the landscape and nature through sustainable land use. It allows all people to ‘have’ – to have a role in food production, to have a say in management, and simply to have food. Agroecology views livestock, crops and soil as one system, one cycle. It focuses on the sustainable use of resources to create more resources. It uses, instead of discrediting, the knowledge gained by generations past.

    Agroecology is the study (and application) of people as a spoke in Mother Earth’s wheel

  • Monica Bogota Torres

    Member
    July 3, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    Agroecology is a sustainable way of production that involves not only the fact to produce as the main factor, it has and holistic aproach that includes all the aspects economical, social and enviromental, promoting the biodiversity, sovereignty and the use of the traditional knowledge throw the interaction soil-plant-animal-human-enviroment .What I most like about agroecology is the fact that keep us connected with our mother earth

    • Andres Drouet Drouet

      Member
      August 11, 2016 at 7:19 am

      Agroecology is the plant and animal production for conservation of ecosystems, under a social and economic framework

  • Bomee

    Member
    September 22, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    Agroecology is the agriculture that is in harmony with the nature. It challenges the industrial agriculture and vales not only farmers but also fisherfolks, peasants, herders and gatherers. Agroecology enables them to produce foods, independent from expensive chemical inputs and supports sustainability, biodiversity and food sovereignty.

    • anagalvis

      Member
      November 28, 2016 at 4:42 pm

      Bommie excellent reflection. Thank you for sharing it with the group

  • PEDRO DAMIAN RIOS GUAYASAMIN

    Member
    October 19, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    I understand agroecology as a tool for political engagement, seen policy as the act of desicion making. In this regard, agroecology, centered on food production, is also placing people in a different understanding of the way we live. Agroecology is a science that comprehensively addresses crop issues, related with ecological and economical aspects of human life. Agroecology also needs to be understood in a broader sense as the right to practice aboriginal knowledge about local agricultural, the need to incorporate other knowledge through the exchange of ideas with other practitioners and the experiences (research) generated on local crop-human-economy interaction.

  • Bill

    Member
    December 4, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    My original understanding was that agroecology is a farming system that is productive while nurturing the soil, and the farm ecosystem. Now I see that all the effects these farming systems have are part of agroecology as well. Agroecology includes building healthier people, healthy communities. Far beyond the farm itself, agroecology includes a social network that reciprocates with a healthy farm system

    • anagalvis

      Member
      May 17, 2017 at 12:32 pm

      What a beautiful insight Bill, yes, it takes into account the: How to do agriculture, For whom? and the effects and consequences.

      Thank you for sharing this with the group

  • Samuel

    Member
    January 9, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    The term Agroecology can be used in multiple ways; as a science, as a movement, and as a practice. Agriculture does not exist as an isolated entity but as a part of an ecology of context. Therefore, agroecology is the study, design, and management of ecological interactions in agricultural ecosystems to improve agricultural productivity and benefit the local biodiversity.

    • anagalvis

      Member
      May 2, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      Wow Samuel, it seems that you really see agroecology as a holistic science, with clear social goals. Thank you for sharing with the group!

  • PerisWanjiru

    Member
    January 16, 2017 at 10:58 am

    It is a whole system approach to agriculture and food systems development based on traditional knowledge alternative agriculture and local food systems

  • miles Baker

    Member
    January 29, 2017 at 11:28 am

    Agroecology is a way of doing agriculture which harmonizes traditional knowledge and traditional practices of the given areas farmers with new technology and scientifically discovered techniques. It is focused on the farmers themselves as the experts of their work and responds to their needs and what they want to do. It is also a way of farming which takes fluctuations in the weather and the climate into account. Agroecology resists the industrial agriculture machine and works to create alternative possibilities for food in the world. Instead of a specific set of practices, agroecokogy is a shared set of principles which are dedicated to food sovereignty and harmony with local ecology/ biodiversity.

  • Felipe

    Member
    February 18, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    Agroecology is a system of agriculture which includes Humans as a factor within their farming cycle. It accounts for the impact and necessities Humans have in regards to their source of food.

  • Mike H

    Member
    February 23, 2017 at 11:48 am

    Essentially agroecology is small-scale food production of the people, by the people, for the people using methods that have been passed down from generation to generation adapting over time but in such a way that people continue to feed themselves. It uses minimal external inputs and wastes little. Seeds from each season’s harvest are saved for the next season. Because food (and water) are at the core of our existence, the ways of producing food become part of the culture and, thus define, the culture. It is the complete antithesis of large-scale, corporate agriculture which results in the destruction of community, culture, nutrition, food sovereignty and food security.

  • Michael Smith

    Member
    March 1, 2017 at 11:35 am

    Agroecology is a set of sustainable farming practices which draws on both science-based strategies and indigenous cultural farming practices which provides for affordable food production, food sovereignty, economic justice and responsible land usage which honors and respects natural Ecosystems and local communities.

  • Shirin Cooper

    Member
    March 1, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    Agroecology refers to systems of food production that are that are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. These systems operate in diverse ways around the globe; their differences being driven by diverse landscapes and cultures. While large scale corporate farming focuses primarily on corporate economic sustainability and growth, agroecological systems operate along more holistic lines where the interdependence of human-environment interactions is honored. And this is done by developing systems that simultaneously sustain nature and human socio-economic needs, that build resilience through diversity and allow communities to operate with independence and dignity.

  • pamsher Sherman

    Member
    March 4, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    The sum of ancient (time-tested), holistic, ethics-based small-holder systems worldwide of growing, hunting, or gathering food in ways that work in harmony with/nourish the land and all beings in the ecosystem, while also nourishing the individuals who and community which grows/gathers it. It incorporates the best of modern ways that accord with its principles of respect for land and people. It is a bottom-up, horizontally structured movement that advocates for policy to implement its principles and educate the public on its values. It measures value not just in crop/catch yield, but in how many ways the land and community are nourished. In agroecology the whole is greater than the sum of its parts because of complex, biodiverse synergies within each growing system. The princples of agroecology are universal, but the specifics are place and culture-based. It is a means for achieving local food sovereignty.

  • sarah tai

    Member
    March 6, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Agroecology is agricultural techniques/practices that values and incorporates past farming practices from around the world with scientific research. Agroecology is not only techniques but it includes shared values that promote small scale food production that have a path to achieve food sovereignty alongside bio diversity. This empowers farmers to select the appropriate crops that is compatible with their location and culture, food is grown for the local market. Agroecology in this manner, takes on a political aspect as it requires governments to implement policies that protect the local food producers and their lands.

    Agroecology is a commitment to being a responsible steward to our planet, protecting our environment and cultivating food in a sustainable manner. The techniques may take slightly different forms depending on territories but the shared values maintain the common grassroots application. Agroecology supports healthy communities through attainable and culturally appropriate food crops.

    • anagalvis

      Member
      May 2, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      Dear Sarah

      This is a very interesting and complete definition of what is agroecology, taking into account the social, economics, cultural and ecological elements, as well as the fact that agroecology is a science, a technique and a social movement, thank you for sharing it with the group!

  • Paul Higgins

    Member
    April 2, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    A bare bones definition, and they way that I internalize the idea of Agroecology is: the study of agricultural systems as centers of food production, resource conservation (wise use and re-use), social cohesion, and culture building. It seems that Agroecology should be defined in each practicing community’s own words, since the practice, strategies, techniques, and culture will differ so widely for each. Currently, I define my community as the San Francisco Peninsula. We do not yet have a cohesive farming community, but I think one is forming, slowly. Our definition of Agroecology will surely include:
    – Wise use of water
    – Use of plants that can be grown during the 6-month dry season
    – Production of culturally relevant plants
    — Our community includes many people of Mexican, Indian, German, Dutch, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese heritage, and others.
    – Methods of local distribution, such as Community Supported Agriculture
    – Farm harvest festivals, work days, and potlucks

    • anagalvis

      Member
      May 2, 2017 at 4:04 pm

      Dear Paul, you got it! agroecology is about principles and not about recipes or prescriptions. Applying agroecological principles to your personal context is a very good idea to define it. Living in the Bay Area of San Francisco I would include one element to your list:

      -Food Justice: identify and dismantle systems of white and male supremacies, here you will find very interesting material about it https://foodfirst.org/publication-type/backgrounder/

      Warm regards

      Ana Galvis
      MESA STAFF

  • Janelle

    Member
    May 27, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    My understanding of Agroecology previous to the readings and video was an approach to agriculture that values ecological structures and focuses on a circular model. As a citizen of the United States that has not had food or water security issues, it was easy for me to keep my definition focused on the land.
    After watching and reading this unit, I would define Agroecology in a much more social way, a way that blends food production with core social and environmental practices in that system. Agroecology focuses on the individual ecosystems that humans have created to work and thrive as people groups, while respecting and honoring environment and natural resources. This word is an umbrella term for the many different ways people groups play out this circular dance, and the importance it plays in food sovereignty and balance in the world around us.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 3 months ago by  Janelle. Reason: spelling error
  • Lesley Byrne

    Member
    May 30, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    The thread that holds it together is the sociocultural component, of which most governments, aid organizations, researchers, academics, many of whom may be well intentioned have held their own Western culture of linear thinking and quantitative analysis, thereby dismissing the intrinsic value of traditional knowledge of agriculture, which has been in existence for over 10,000 years.
    Although agroecology has been around for decades, it is only recently, that we are beginning to reframe what we call sustainability, shifting from economics and the environment as the two top priorities to the social element, traditional knowledge that as one speaker in the video, so aptly put it, “peasant because its rooted in a region or territory.” Its at this level, in which smallholder farmers are on a more intimate relationship with their land and the ecology. What agroecology brings to the table is the interconnectedness of and equal partnership with traditional farmers and their families, using appropriate methods that fit within each culture and their environment, while also conducting the necessary scientific data that is required by Western standards and that will enhance both the sustainability and resilience of the land and the people, with a bottom up approach, not a top down approach.
    I live and work with indigenous and tribal people from all over the world so this is something dear to my heart.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      July 4, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Hi Lesley,

      Beautiful response. In your current work that you mentioned, what are some of the main challenges and barriers you see? The successes?

  • Kevin Ndegwa Ndegwa

    Member
    May 31, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    Agroecology as a science,an art,a technique and a social movement guided by harmonic,respectful and holistic principles and facets,geared to long term and alternative food production practices through sustainable agriculture in both crop and animal production in alignment with mother nature-environment.

  • Natalie Yoder

    Member
    June 3, 2017 at 7:40 am

    Agroecology is a science of how all the environmental factors play together and how to integrate sustainable food production into the territory one dwells in. It’s study into ethical and higher goals- such as how to be more sustainable in every aspect. And Agroecology is a political ideal, where food producers and consumers work together for common goals.

    • anagalvis

      Member
      July 18, 2017 at 4:40 pm

      Dear Natalie,

      You have a clear idea that agroecology is a science, a set of techniques and a social movement. Thank you for sharing and I highly encourage you to participate actively in the other forums.

      Warm regards, best wishes

      Ana Galvis
      MESA STAFF

      • Andy

        Member
        December 6, 2017 at 6:04 pm

        You have a clear idea that agroecology is a science, a set of techniques and a social movement. Thank you for sharing and I highly encourage you to participate actively in the other forums.

        i would also be clear that while it is true that it is a technique and a social movement, I came to see that there is something much deeper about the agroecology movement that makes it different from other movements: it is a paradigm shift. If there is no shift in the inner paradigm of the culture that we are in towards seeing the forest and other living systems as an interactive system, then we have failed to be agroecologist.

  • Anandi

    Member
    June 3, 2017 at 11:23 pm

    I believe that my experience of and impression of Agroecology is synonymous with what was presented by most of the farmers in the video and in the lesson.

    Agroecology is a system which works in harmony with Mother Nature to grow food with the practice of ecological design centered around specific bio-regions; it is customized for diverse cultural practices and for global food systems; it is a way of working with inhabitants of the planet of all species to cultivate culturally appreciated crops sustainably; it is a way to utilize natural resources and ecosystem resources with respect and reverence for the value of these ecosystem services.

  • Zulay Jimenez Jimenez

    Member
    June 4, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    Agroecology is a sustainable system to grow organic and secure food using practices that preserve ancient knowledge. It is an interaction between the agricultural system, the diversity of smalls peasants, gatherers, herders and consumers.

  • Beck Rafferty

    Member
    June 6, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Agroecology is a set of working relationships specific to a place, its’ people and community that honours multiple modes of knowledge, meaning and understanding; recognises the need to accept feedback and respond to change; and values the vitality and integrity of all players – the land and its’ many lifeforms included. I believe that the ability of a community to define in their own voice, a definition that is specific to them is integral to the practice of agroecology in empowering people to structure and monitor the relationships that shape their immediate world. To me, agroecology is as much about listening in the sense of receiving and observing the relationships upon which life depends – being open to feedback – as much as it is about being a voice and a driving force for change away from a necessarily homogenous global system.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      July 10, 2017 at 10:43 am

      Hi Beck,

      I’m Katie, one of your course instructors. Great response. Particularly of interest is your point about being open to feedback. This illustrates such an important part of agroecology – the ability and expectation of a system to change and respond as conditions do. How do you think this principle relates to the concept of resiliency?

  • Sarah Petri

    Member
    June 8, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    The definition of agroecology is broader and more fluid than I originally believed, both in terms of what it encompasses and also how its definition changes between cultures. Antonio Gonzales defined agroecology at 5:54 in the video as “a way of producing food in harmony with nature,” which, while it is the most basic and essential meaning of the term, doesn’t fully communicate the many facets of agroecology.

    Agroecology is as much about social policy, international politics, and preserving farmer autonomy as it is about traditional food production techniques, cultural interpretation, and the communal relationship between nature and the grower. Especially after watching the video, I believe that, while there are scientific aspects of agroecology, it is more a spiritual and social interaction passed down by indigenous and small-scale producers that connects to modern scientific research and methods. Cultures have been built around and adapt according to agroecology and define much of their livelihoods and social connections.

    For example, the effects of banning non-commercial fishermen from fishing were felt not only in terms of the procurement of food but also in the social roles of women and children versus the men throughout the community. Their ownership over that part of their culture was stripped away by a policy that essentially disowned those fishermen of their autonomy. A more positive example is the transition to growing millet and rice in the Sahel. As droughts became more prevalent and prolonged, the culture adapted to a different grain that not only fed their people but also fed their animals. Agroecology not only supports the social connections of a society but also strengthens their resilience in the face of adversity.

    Prior to this video and reading, my definition of agroecology was not only shallow but unnecessarily specific. Agroecology is truly a Vision, Practice, and Social Movement that not only seeks to create better international policy for small-scale farmers, but also preserve the traditional agricultural skills and cultures of societies around the world.

    • Janelle

      Member
      June 8, 2017 at 7:07 pm

      This is a poignant definition. Very all-encompassing, thought provoking.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      July 10, 2017 at 2:11 pm

      Sarah,

      Thank you for your expansive response. This piece, “Agroecology not only supports the social connections of a society but also strengthens their resilience in the face of adversity.” is so crucial and relevant, and easily stripped away from many definitions of agroecology because social resiliency can be hard to quantify. Beautiful and thoughtful reflections.

  • Angie Huayamave Huayamave

    Member
    June 9, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Agroecology is a system that is made up of farmers, consumers and various actors in general. They act to ensure that the product is carried out in an appropriate way without excesses that affect the ecosystem. As a movement, the main task is to enforce all the processes, contributing to the improvement in the quality of life of the peasant families, promoting the sowing of diverse, healthy and nutritious foods for the current generation and the future.

    • anagalvis

      Member
      July 18, 2017 at 5:34 pm

      Hola Angie

      This is a very complete definition of agroecology, thank you for sharing. Are you familiar with agroecological farming systems in your country? do you want to share with the group about it?

      Thank you Angie, warm regards

      Ana Galvis
      MESA STAFF

  • Nancy Kimathi Kimathi

    Member
    June 9, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Agro ecology is a science that integrates traditional farm practices with ecological principles to attain development and management of sustainable agriculture for a healthier and a happier individual, community and planet as a whole

    • anagalvis

      Member
      July 18, 2017 at 5:15 pm

      Dear Nancy

      How are you doing?

      very interesting definition of agroecology, it definitely includes the fact that agroecology is a science, a set of techniques and a social movement. Thank you for sharing, warm regards

      Ana Galvis
      MESA STAFF

  • Courtney Young

    Member
    June 14, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    My understanding of agroecology has expanded from being a concept around farming in a way that mimics, works within and regenerates ecosystems to one that encompasses the traditions,culture, health and livelihoods of people and communities. Agroecology is not merely a practice, it’s a way of life that looks at the relationship and interconnections between people, food, and the environment. It’s a means for working towards food sovereignty, rather than food security, where people have a right, not just access, to culturally appropriate and nourishing food, and a right to determine their own food and farming systems.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      July 10, 2017 at 1:54 pm

      Beautiful Courtney – I’m glad you are shifting your understanding of agroecology to include the larger systems at play, and the social movements which guide it. Well put.

  • Helen Aufderheide

    Member
    June 18, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    Coming at agricultural issues from an international development perspective, I find that the key takeaway from the agroecology lesson is its potential for reframing the exchange between the international community and developing countries and empowering local knowledge systems. It is as a mode of approaching agriculture that values local indigenonous knowledge as much if not more than scientific research — encouraging developing countries to look inward to improve and build resilient agricultural systems in addition to learning from the international community.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      July 10, 2017 at 11:17 am

      Hi Helen,

      I’m Katie, one of your instructors. Interesting way to look at agroecology on a more global level as the interactional between international forces and local indigenous knowledge. This is definitely an interesting nexus, and points to the need of such social movements as Food Sovereignty and coalition building like La Via Campesina, in order to represent local, peasant based interests while also address and unite around global forces.

      And, yes there is definitely a push to re-value indigenous knowledge, perhaps not above scientific research, but as its own form of science in itself.

      Thank you for your response!

  • Glen Chapman

    Member
    June 18, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    Agroecology encompasses food as part of the whole of the natural system in which we live. Agroecology is a way of managing and being part fo the whole that is regenerating and building healthy ecological and social systems. It encompasses the physical environment as well as the social fabric of how we live and produce and distribute food. There are comments about it being based on “traditional” methods, but I think these are part of the discussion. These methods worked based on a closer relationship with the land and environment, but I think we need to consider that as we learn more about the systems at play we can blend tradition with new techniques that allow us to deliver on the principles of agroecology.

    It is Holistic – ecology, people/social and economy.
    It is focused on abundance and resilience.
    It focuses on developing the biology and fertility of soils as the basis of the system.
    Based on Polycultures. This means many territories, techniques, enterprises, animal types and plant species.
    Focused on the whole food system and its connection between people and the environment, from production to consumption and back again.
    Develops collaborative connections between people.

    I think it is important to note we need to develop and regenerative all parts of the system, as in many ways we have gone backwards in both the health of soils, plants, animals and our communities.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      July 4, 2017 at 3:31 pm

      Hi Glen,

      Thank you for your very thoughtful response! It’s interesting to me how you talk about how ‘we can blend tradition with new techniques”. I would be interested to hear what this means to you, as a way to look forward to the future of agroecology? What do you think is needed to get there?

      • Glen Chapman

        Member
        July 4, 2017 at 5:17 pm

        Katie, We are learning so much about soil biology, animal management and new ways to manage land. For example the knowledge around compost and ways to make different forms allow us to create bacteria-rich or fungi-rich depending on our requirements in our won situation. Another example of a new technique is that of Keyline developed by PA Yeomans. Not only was the methods of water management and soil development new techniques, but also the planning system he developed then influenced the processes in permaculture and other methods. This allowed other new to deal with land to ensure they worked through the planning process in a logical and considered way that ensured the planned landscape was set up for the long term.

        In the same way in Australia, many people are working with local indigenous elders to learn about fire and how it is important in the Australian landscape when managed correctly. Here is a link to an article on ABC on this – http://www.abc.net.au/site-archive/rural/content/2011/s3205249.htm. And a more recent one is about Charlie Massy who has just completed research on the transition from conventional to regenerative/agroecological practices – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-24/monaro-farmers-use-aboriginal-cool-burn-fires-to-recover/7440824

      • Katie Brimm

        Administrator
        July 11, 2017 at 9:27 am

        Fascinating! Thank you for sharing Glen!

  • Paul Simiyu Simiyu

    Member
    August 19, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    Agroecology is a system of farming and its practices which are holistic to an ecosystem and it’s interrelationship while enhancing food sovereignty and sustainability when working in harmony towards environmental, socio economy and cultural aspects.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      August 27, 2019 at 1:10 pm

      Beautiful Paul thank you

  • Diana Weber

    Member
    September 6, 2017 at 11:55 am

    To me, Agroecology is a grassroots movement, trying to bring farming back to farmers and out of the hands of large out of touch corporations. It’s about connecting people to the land and people to people. It’s keeping local decisions about what to do with a plot of land or a crop in the hands of those people that actually live there and handle those things, face to face and not allowing some business person or government hundreds of miles away, that does not have any investment (other than maybe a financial one), to make broad decisions about that land or crop.

    It can be viewed as a holistic approach to our basic needs for life and food being handled by the stewards of that land. Those people that can see the effects of their decisions immediately and can react to the affects of that decision before too much damage for change might happen.

  • Carlo bolzoni

    Member
    September 8, 2017 at 2:02 am

    Agreocology is a way of life in the countryside. It includes ecological managment of resource as well as social, cultural and economic managment. It is a way of conection with people and nature.

  • Victoria Wood

    Member
    October 20, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    My understanding of agroecology is that it is a method of farming that aligns with the unique cultural and environmental factors of a region. There is not only one way to practice agroecology, there are many different ways depending on the resources and cultural practices that are common in a particular area. It has become a movement now, in an age where large-scale factory farming is a growing monopoly that uses chemical fertilizers and environmentally degrading practices to maximize production without consideration for anything else. Agroecology takes into consideration the people involved in farming as well as the health of the environment and the community by making use of what is naturally occurring and available.

  • Kristy Theilen

    Member
    November 16, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    Agroecology is a science, technique and social movement. It is a bottom-up movement that gives power to the folk that are producing our base sustenance, food. It is through valuing our small scale food producers that we can achieve true food sovereignty. Agroecology is an open conversation between farmers to work together and learn from each other and advocate for rights of small growers. Agroecology is about the people, the farmers, the stewards of the land who have always held dear a connection with the earth.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      November 21, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      Hi Kristy,

      I’m Katie, one of your course educators. Great response – a nice overview of the social movement aspect of agroecology as well as some of the values behind it. To dig a little deeper, What are some of the agricultural practices that you would say fall under agroecology? Also, when you say “valuing small scale producers”, what are some ways you see that happening?

      Best,
      Katie

      • Kristy Theilen

        Member
        December 14, 2017 at 1:55 pm

        To dig a little deeper, What are some of the agricultural practices that you would say fall under agroecology? Also, when you say “valuing small scale producers”, what are some ways you see that happening

        Agricultural practices that fall under agroecology are all the practices that make farming full circle and sustainable, collecting and replanting the seeds, using animal and green manure and crop rotation to replenish and fertilize the soil, and providing healthy and environmentally friendly produce for the local community.

        Valuing small scale producers could happen by just more people attending farmers markets or going out to the local farms to buy the freshest produce, it doesn’t really matter where, just find their local producers and buy food from them, like what one would eat all week, Not just one tomato. Or maybe it’s too much to ask so many people to care about what goes into their bodies and we need policy change, in that case, I would say, a proper way to value this very important skill set/calling would be to provide small scale producers with the land they need without being taxed for it. However I’m not very hopeful that any top-down situation is ever beneficial, so I really think people should just agree to let people live off the land if they want. Just have a little value for these crazy people that need to care for the earth, it should be protected as a religious right or something.

      • Katie Brimm

        Administrator
        December 19, 2017 at 5:30 pm

        Thanks for digging deeper! What you mention in here, which can sound idealistic for sure, is agrarian reform, or the redistribution of land by the state in favor of small farmers. This is actually not so idealistic, and may be one of the more prominent and necessary demands of the more progressive food movement. Check out for instance, what happened in Cuba! https://www.reuters.com/article/us-cuba-reform-agriculture/cuba-grants-land-to-thousands-of-new-farmers-idUSTRE5113IY20090202

  • Lindsey Donaldson

    Member
    November 21, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    Agriculture + Ecology = Agroecology and it is, oh, so much more than I knew to know; the concept of a holistic approach is the heart and soul of this movement. Agroecology is a harmonious focus on the vital interrelationship of a complex system of ecological processes with human social, economical and cultural activities. This concept is to ignite biodiversity for self regulated, multi- functioning farming, and to enhance how our natural world as a whole provides for us and guides us. It is important for us to find a place in our current food systems and policymaking for agroecological practices before we deplete and strip the very source that nourishes life its self.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      November 21, 2017 at 2:57 pm

      Hi Lindsey,

      I’m Katie, one of your course educators. Nice response, thank you for sharing. In what ways did your idea of agroeoclogy shift after this first module?

  • Kenol Derosan Derosan

    Member
    November 21, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    At the beginning GOD has given us this right, that of exploiting the nature but wisely, with the industrial evolution, a small group of men declaring like man of city or multinationals unite to destroy the planet in their profit, to remedy this situation we the countrymen say long live the ultimate return to the old that is agroecology, For me, agro ecology is return to the ancient agricultural world, it is to return with the knowledge empirical to exploit the nature, it is to transform into ZANA (Friend natural) to protect the sources, the rivers, the animals (Large and small cattle and the microorganisms), the vegetaux, in short it is to protect the environment and its elements or rather to say it is to wait for the nature that serves us that to take it suddenly. Agroecology is a means to use nature while respecting the mutual relations which result from it, it is a way of life. socially equitable science, environmentally sustainable and respectable, living agroecologically is to live naturally and eternally.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      November 30, 2017 at 10:47 am

      Hi Kenol,

      Thank you for your exploration of agroecology. You say agroecology is a a return to the ancient. While it has its foundations in traditional, ancient knowledge, I wonder what it looks like to you in present day?

  • Andy

    Member
    November 26, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    Looking at the previous definition of agroecology that I have watched in the videos, I found that it actually confirmed with what I have learned so far through my own studies at the Evergreen State College. However, it broaden the scope where it is not just about land itself but also the practice and how people will relate to the land and it is about the society that one creates.

    From what I have learned through some of the responses here, I found that agroecology is first the study of how our agriculture impacts the ecology that is around us. In order for us to learn about how agroecology will function, we first need to learn how does our treatment of different groups of people lead to different practices of agriculture to be developed within that region and why. We need to study, secondly, the spiritual practices and religions that are shaped by the policies that we have put in place in order for such practices to be encouraged in the region. The relationship of the people with their own ecosystem can actually makes the difference between a culture that rely on chemicals in order to get its own yields versus a culture that relies on nature for its own yields. Then, when one has learned about the culture and about the people that establishes the relationship with the land, then we can talk about how can we go from there in order to shift from a practice that does not respect the ecological balance of the place to a more stable culture where such balance is not only maintained and respected, but also surplused.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      November 30, 2017 at 10:45 am

      Hi Andy,

      Excellent and thoughtful response. Your response is tracing the path of agroecology towards the the root of Food Sovereignty, people’s right to define their own food system in a way that is environmentally and culturally appropriate for them – meaning that communities and nature, and their cultures, must be at the center of decision making. You’ll delve into these concepts next!

      • Andy

        Member
        November 30, 2017 at 4:58 pm

        Excellent and thoughtful response. Your response is tracing the path of agroecology towards the the root of Food Sovereignty, people’s right to define their own food system in a way that is environmentally and culturally appropriate for them – meaning that communities and nature, and their cultures, must be at the center of decision making. You’ll delve into these concepts next!

        Alright, for what I am planning to do with some of the studies that I am doing with agroecology, I came to see that in order for communities and nature to have a clear understanding about how they go about changing their ways and even relearning their ancestral path, I found that there are later responses that I came to see which I need to emphasize communities to study about ecology where they first have a scientific approach in how to grow their own foods and then once they have such a thing where they interact with their own environment over a long generation, then that is when such cultural traditions will grow back since I came to see how so many communities have lost their roots when it comes to food sovereignty due to colonialism. In order for something to be environmentally and culturally appropriate, it must be in relationship with the land that the people has came from or have lived there for a long long time and for many generations.

      • Katie Brimm

        Administrator
        December 5, 2017 at 10:44 am

        Right – there has been a lot of dispossession and fracturing of communities from their roots by colonialism. For this reason as well, it’s important to let the communities define their food systems, as the present day definition will have shifted since traditional times. This is why structural issues and power in the food system are an important part of Agroecology, which gives space for an honoring of the roots and traditional practices while placing them in the modern political climate.

      • Andy

        Member
        December 6, 2017 at 6:00 pm

        Right – there has been a lot of dispossession and fracturing of communities from their roots by colonialism. For this reason as well, it’s important to let the communities define their food systems, as the present day definition will have shifted since traditional times. This is why structural issues and power in the food system are an important part of Agroecology, which gives space for an honoring of the roots and traditional practices while placing them in the modern political climate.

        So i would definitely love to see how does agroecology can bridge with the philosophies of alternative education since I found that there are plenty of alternative schools that I found here in Olympia and even in Austin where they taught permaculture, along with many other organic farming practices, but the one thing that I would love them to see is looking at the roots of the traditional practices which led them to interact in healthy ways with the environment around them. i found that one of the saddest part of permaculture is how they do many of the sustainable practices because it is considered and taught by others as sustainable but they somehow cannot relate to the land like as though it is a marriage, which something many native cultures will emphasize if there is any way we are going to practice true agroecology is to see it as our own spouse and learn to build a relationship to it by listening to it.

      • Katie Brimm

        Administrator
        December 12, 2017 at 11:18 am

        Hi Andy,

        Thank you for your comment. Permaculture, while espousing many valuable and useful practices and values, does tend to tip-toe around deep cultural kinship with the land as well as social justice issues. It is certainly holds an important place in alternative food production, and, I have always found agroecology to dig a big deeper, including the intentional honoring of native practices.

        Your comments remind me profoundly of the native Hawaiian movement, Aloha Aina. The phrase literally translates to “Love of Land”, but more deeply refers to humans absolute connected, relationship, and duty to serve, protect, and love the land. Later, the concept was built into a larger social movement for native Hawaiian sovereignty. I have not listened to this series yet, but find the movement and native traditions incredible powerful and inspiring. You might be interested in delving deeper: http://hawaiipublicradio.org/programs/aloha-aina

  • Sarah ODoherty

    Member
    December 3, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Agroecology is a social movement that looks to restore the harmony of localized communities and their particular ecosystems, local communities within the global community, and the environment as a whole. The movement advocates local farming knowledge and traditions as one of the central tools in restoring balance to food systems and communities alike. In taking control of land away from capital interested corporations and returning it to small farmers, a relationship of caring for land rather than abusing it can be established. That shift can provide meaningful livelihoods and lifestyles, empower communities and restore ecosystem health. It is a chance to reinvigorate the idea of humanity as caretakers, rather than captains, of the land.

  • Samantha Longster

    Member
    December 6, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    To me, argoecology is bringing the farm back to the family. Individuals learning how to grow sustainable, clean foods at the micro level with minimal invasive impact to local environment, which is critical to long term community health. Start with the basics and the rest is easy. The economic challenges of my surrounding area is increased because very few people even realize that they can easily grow enough food to feed their family with dependence on government assistance. A greater understanding and application of agroecology would give my community (and most others) a base for better, cleaner food, which will lead to better quality lives.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      December 12, 2017 at 11:03 am

      Great! To you, what does it mean to bring the farm back to the family? Also, I’m curious how science and activism might fit into your definition. Thanks for sharing!

  • Maria Elena Elena

    Member
    December 7, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Agroecology is both a land-based movement that better connects people to their food systems and also a framework for working with the land. Farming agroecologically respects the natural ecological systems of the planet and seeks to enhance them rather than harm them. Agroecology is tightly connected to culture and people’s rights to the land or the sea, and their abilities to continue traditional and sustainable ways of life. Agroecology provides earth and community-centric guidance to people embarking on a livelihood based in farming, fishing, or hunting/gathering.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      December 12, 2017 at 11:53 am

      Excellent, thank you Marie Elena. It is also important to note that agroeoclogy includes certain practices and science along with the social and ecological components. Thank you for sharing!

      • Andy

        Member
        December 14, 2017 at 5:42 pm

        So I wonder if there are the sea components for agroecology since ecology does not limit itself to just the land? This is important that I and other farmers need to know if this would include the fact that in order to lead these movements in the right direction that we need to be educated in the right way as well?

      • Katie Brimm

        Administrator
        December 19, 2017 at 5:33 pm

        Hi Andy,

        Could you clarify your question? As I understand you, you’re asking if farmers like yourself should engage in some educational training for leading/guiding in the food movement, is that correct?

      • Andy

        Member
        January 4, 2018 at 7:33 pm

        Hi Andy,

        Could you clarify your question? As I understand you, you’re asking if farmers like yourself should engage in some educational training for leading/guiding in the food movement, is that correct?

        Kate, you did mentioned that question correctly and there is two parts to my question: First, does the study of agroecology also include studying the ecology of only terrestrial or is it everything that comes in the package like aquatics? Second, how much education does a farmer really need in order to participate in the movement effectively? (I ask the second since I found that there are so many farmers and social activist that goes into such social movement without ever educating themselves fully about what the movement is about, what is the healthy biology of an ecosystem, and what is the original aim of the movement in order to lead it effectively against corporatized food systems).

      • Katie Brimm

        Administrator
        January 15, 2018 at 2:24 pm

        Hi Andy,

        Great questions. What do you think? Can agroecologic principles be applied to Ocean Management? Who controls what education looks like? What would it need to cover and who would be educating who?

      • Andy

        Member
        January 15, 2018 at 9:37 pm

        Great questions. What do you think? Can agroecologic principles be applied to Ocean Management? Who controls what education looks like? What would it need to cover and who would be educating who?

        For the agroecological principles that was applied to ocean management, I found that it is similar to the way you managed land except that you have to learn about the ecology of the ocean and how it works, along with how do you define territory when you are in the ocean so that you don’t get in trouble with your neighbors when they want to fish in your territory. For the education, that really needs to have a standard which was enforced by those who are in the field of agroecology and those who are well-versed in there since the farmers and the indigenous cultures know best what needs to be done except that they don’t share a common language with other people in different populations. I personally love to see other people’s thoughts about who would be considered qualified enough to teach it to the public since it is important that we have to agree on the standard and practices in order to make the best use of practices found throughout the world for high productions (this is to compete against the corporates).

  • Veronica Erenberg

    Member
    December 17, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    Agroecology is a way of life. I see it as an opportunity to bring back healthier lifestyles and communities, and create greater access to fresh foods connected to peoples culture and sense of belonging. Growing up around people who are physically and mentally sick, I have found sustainable farming recuperative and healing.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      December 19, 2017 at 4:31 pm

      Hi Veronica,

      Nice response – I wonder if you could expand on your experience of how farming can be regenerative for illness? Such a tender and powerful thread to bring into this discussion.

      Also, how do you see agroecology as it plays out as a science and social movement?

      Thanks for engaging here!

  • Renee Chewning

    Member
    December 22, 2017 at 3:58 am

    Agroecology is relationships or the way in which two or more people, organizations, processes regard and behave toward one another. It values people, plants, land, air, and water equally and demands support from policy and science that enhances each individually and collectively.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      January 4, 2018 at 1:34 pm

      Great! How has your idea of agroecology shifted so far in this course?

  • Christopher Stafford Stafford

    Member
    January 7, 2018 at 10:42 am

    Agroecology, to me, is a gift passed on from our ancestors to ensure generations to come are well-equipped. The knowledge is used to help us evaluate the process of nature and how to maintain life on Earth. The wisdom humbles us and creates awareness for ourselves and others, through techniques and observation. The understanding protects our rights to “Food Sovereignty” for all small scale food producers and consumers universally.

  • Anja

    Member
    January 17, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    Agroecology is a holistic framework that looks to provide methodology based in traditional knowledge and scientific research for the ecologically sustainable production of food, medicinal, and shelter products. It also now encompasses the political and social aspects of agriculture by promoting food security and sovereignty.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      January 22, 2018 at 3:50 pm

      Great response, thank you Anja.

  • Andy

    Member
    January 22, 2018 at 8:51 pm

    And for those of you that are seeking to learn more about what I am doing with the Vajrayana natural farming and what I have developed so far regarding my own practices, please take a reference to this link here.
    The Diary on the Vajrayana Natural Farming Philosophy

  • Heather

    Member
    January 23, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    Agroecology is a social movement in that it is attentive to justice of multiple kinds: social, global, and ecological. But this global movement is also locally-situated as agricultural practices specific to distinct bioregions and their social histories. The applied agricultural knowledge that has developed over time in communities and their bioregions (often denigrated in the scientifically-bolstered world of production agriculture) is restored in importance through agroecology, which seeks to integrate local knowledge systems with scientific research such that they can build upon, rather than oppose, one another. Agroecology gathers knowledge from multiple epistemologies, as well as diverse regions, to re-articulate farming as an avenue to ecological balance. This vision of farming situates humans as actors within their ecosystems, seeking to be positive contributors, which is a sharp contrast to the ecological destruction wrought through extractive practices of conventional agriculture. Envisioning humans as participants within ecosystems begins to dissolve the nature/culture divide that characterizes anthropocentrism—the dominant worldview that humans are fundamentally separate from their surrounding ecologies. Because anthropocentrism is the logic underlying capitalist cultures of production, through agroecology farming becomes a radical act of resistance to the social and ecological injustices that characterize our modern global food system.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      February 1, 2018 at 11:23 am

      Beautiful response Heather! “Envisioning humans as participants within ecosystems begins to dissolve the nature/culture divide that characterizes anthropocentrism” is a great way to shift the understanding of what agroecology can be. Thank you for your thoughts. In your experience, how does social justice overlap with this?

  • Ednerline Sinoïs Sinoïs

    Member
    January 28, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    Agroecology is not only a set of technical and scientific practices, it is also an observation of nature, respect for our environment and the development of ancestral practices. Since the dawn of time man practices agroecology, hunters-ceuilleurs are the proof. Agroecology is a social movement that fights the expropriation of farmers and aims to promote sustainable agriculture, equity, the distribution of wealth of the planet

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      February 7, 2018 at 10:25 am

      Very nice response! In particular, “observation of nature, respect for our environment and the development of ancestral practices.” Thank you for sharing.

  • JULIA

    Member
    January 30, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Agroecology according to me is an approach to agriculture that is engineered to towards creating a healthy interrelationship between human, the environment and all the other living things that are reliant on the environment.
    It’s a technique that honors the agricultural production techniques that are environmentally friendly ,economically viable, cultural acceptable and most importantly owned and acknowledged by the communities from ancestry. Its also engineered towards sustainability as a lot of farming inputs are to be generated in the farm i.e. seeds, compost.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      February 7, 2018 at 10:54 am

      Thanks Julia for the response, you have a solid start to your understanding of agroecology. In what ways does it’s political components interact with its science and practice?

  • Theresa

    Member
    March 19, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    Agroecology, as a food production system framework for farm development, includes the physical development of a farm and crops, local markets to sell into, joining with a community to serve local food needs. It is a social and philosophical global movement creating sustainable farms that will continue to produce for multiple generations without depleting soil and water resources by employing farming methods appropriate to the farm site conditions, as well as organic and ecological practices that work with the natural cycles of ecology, nutrient and water cycles and careful stewardship of the farm.

  • Theresa

    Member
    March 20, 2018 at 9:14 am

    After reading these papers I was delighted to see that leasing farmland is a realistic option for me. My knowledge of how to find an area that meets my needs is not clear yet, but as I network it may become obvious. Also, the USDA reports advanced age of farmers in the US in 1993-above 60 years old-, suggests that a lot of farmland is changing hands. Will climate change cause a drop in land prices? How will climate change impact water access for farms?

    1) Foreign Investors snapping up US Farms, Mother Jones, 2017: https://www.motherjones.com/food/2017/08/foreign-investors-are-snapping-up-us-farms/

    2)Who Owns US Farmland?, Census Bureau https://www.census.gov/prod/1/statbrief/sb93_10.pdf

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      March 26, 2018 at 10:05 am

      Hi Theresa,

      If you’re in California, Farmlink is an excellent resource for all things leasing farmland. If you’re outside of CA, still poke around on their website, I’m sure there lots of information for you! http://www.californiafarmlink.org/

  • Theresa

    Member
    March 20, 2018 at 9:18 am

    Someone posted a question re: Bats
    My experience is that adding a small pond will keep attract and keep bats around.
    Shifting bats to bat houses does work, each species of bat has specific housing needs for size and temperature.best fact sheets and resource I found on
    https://batconservation.org/learn/about-bats/
    for california farmers

    Northern California Bats

  • Elisse Roche

    Member
    May 2, 2018 at 9:56 pm

    Agroecology is essentially the application of ecological concepts and traditions to “agro-ecosystems,” or larger food and social systems, in order to foster environmental stewardship, food security, and food sovereignty. Agroecology as a term applies to a scientific approach (i.e. optimizing production), a set of traditional/ indigenous practices, and a social movement that empowers small farmers across the world.

  • Caitlin Blood

    Member
    May 6, 2018 at 1:47 am

    Agroecology is a tool used by a diverse range of regional and cultural communities to cultivate food sovereignty. It is at once the practice and principles of very local traditional agricultural knowledge, and an ongoing scientific discipline, holistically studying and developing the cultural, socio-economic, cultural and environmental sustainability of agricultural communities. More specifically, Agroecology engages practices based on environmental principles of building soil biology, the recycling of nutrients, building biodiversity, and the conservation of energy. Some of these practices are diverse crop rotation, rotational grazing, cover cropping, traditional small-scale and diverse fishing, no-till, composting, and the use of biochar. These Agroecological practices have been found advantageous over conventional systems in terms of creating climate resiliance, being low-external-input and largely self-reliant, and increasing productivity on the farm vs. crop level, creating a more diverse, economically viable and food secure system. Resistant to the current industrial agricultural and economic system that abuses our world’s social and environmental resources, Agroecology is a necessary political movement in the face of climate change, environmental, food, and social injustice. The Agroecological movement is an umbrella term that brings together immensely diverse ways of knowing, cultures and identities, strengthening all of these elements in their exchange and solidarity.

  • Jay

    Member
    May 6, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    After reviewing the materials for this module, I would stand by my original definition of Agroecology but add further that it is a set of holistic principles and truths of nature and the ways that humans (as animals part of the ecosystem) interact with those principles. Agroecology models for us the most mutually beneficial ways that living organisms can thrive in pursuit of food sovereignty for all. It is the best case example of humans applying their willpower towards agriculture, and the resulting ways in which that willpower affects other humans (within one’s own society, then within other societies) and other organisms.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      May 8, 2018 at 8:15 am

      Thank you Jay. You have a good foundation in the ideas of Agroecology. You could even expand this to include that Agroecology includes a set of practices (agricultural soil building practices for instance) that go along the principles, and that the principles includes power structures within human interactions in regards to community, politics, land ownership, for example. Thank you for your response!

  • Joseph

    Member
    May 8, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    Hello, my name is Joseph, and am from Kenya.
    I would like to share my thought(s) on what Agroecology is all about.
    Basically, according to me, is that Agroecology is a way of life (culture), which doesn’t rely on Science, Techniques, and implementation practices, this is due to the different ecological zones around the world with different atmospheres.
    So, for my definition; Agroecology is a learning curve where we re-design our agro-ecosystems by managing them through applying ecological principles and ideas to bring about sustainability.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      May 22, 2018 at 8:09 am

      Hi Joseph,

      Greetings! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on defining agroecology. While agroecology certainly is a way of life for some, it does rely on science, tehcniques and implmentation practices! But you’re right that due to different ecological zones, agroecology as techniques and implementation will vary according to that specific area. However, it does have a set of practices based in science – could you name a few? And when you say “bring about sustainability” do share what your vision of a sustainable system looks like.

      I look forward to hearing more from you!

  • Yeva

    Member
    June 3, 2018 at 7:49 am

    Agroecology is an umbrella term to indicate a large range of practices, a scientific discipline and a social movement. To me it offers answers, solutions and change in a way of thinking about farming, nature, produce and its interrelations. At its core its focussed on food sovereignty.

    The movement challenges political and power relations, offers resilience, autonomy and empowers farmers, farmworkers and consumers. Its practices offer a way of (activist) farming that is focussed on nature inclusivity and protection, that allows for local traditions and knowledge to thrive, but simultaneously it can adapt itself to the issues we are facing today, such as climate change, and offers a place for farmers who have little traditional knowledge due to historical erasure or coming from a non-farming background. It’s centralized locality, but at the same time global solidarity and creates a bridge between rural and urban communities. It emphasises access to the commons instead of privatisation, food security instead of profit.
    Its scientific discipline studies agroecological systems with a holistic vision.
    Agroecology has farming at its heart, but it understands that that includes water governance, nature conservation, animal and workers rights and of course the link with those who eat and enjoy the food.
    I originally wrote that when the Zapatistas declared “[t]he world we want is one where many worlds fit” it echoed to me what agroecology represents with regards to food, farming, nature and Mother Earth and I still believe that to be true.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      June 12, 2018 at 12:36 pm

      Hi Yeva,

      Beautiful response and well thought out. This sentiment is especially powerful: “when the Zapatistas declared “[t]he world we want is one where many worlds fit” it echoed to me what agroecology represents with regards to food, farming, nature and Mother Earth and I still believe that to be true.” When you say “To me it offers answers, solutions and change in a way of thinking about farming, nature, produce and its interrelations.”, can you expand? Did anything you learned surprise you?

  • Carrie

    Member
    June 5, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    I realized after watching the video that my original definition only barely scratched the surface. As an anthropologist I would now define agroecology as a system defined in large part by the culture of a particular locale. Each local culture utilizing the best practices from science which allow interaction with earth systems in ways that promote food sovereignty while at the same time allowing for interactions that are best suited to the local environment. Essentially, community based, culture driven, and small enough to change with changes to the local environment and climate.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      July 2, 2018 at 12:09 pm

      Hi Carrie. Great description of your understanding of agroecology. It’s important also to note it’s rootedness in traditional knowledge systems and it’s relationship to socio-political issues. Steve Gliessman has a great explanation of the “Levels” of agroecology you might find interesting: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21683565.2015.1130765

  • Carmen Flores Ccasa Flores Ccasa

    Member
    June 17, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    Agroecology is the relationship that exists between nature and the products we choose from them, which guarantees healthy biodiversity and food sovereignty in the face of the climate change crisis that industrial companies offer us.
    I can also mention that agroecology is more notorious when we are united with society and politics, as producers, fishermen, consumers, etc. Especially with the land and animals of our community.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      July 3, 2018 at 9:06 am

      Thanks for your response. When you say, “agroecology is more notorious when we are united with society and politics” can you expand? How does agroecology relate to food sovereignty? Also, what part does traditional knowledge play?

  • Carmen Flores Ccasa Flores Ccasa

    Member
    July 4, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    “Agro-ecology is more noticeable when we are United with the society and politics”. My answer the mensione with respect to the relevance of my region of Cusco-Peru.It is because farmers today not all maintain, customs or its traditional policies of the ancestors, water, soil, trees and their traditional culture.
    the politcs influences much because, in my region. all large employers support the production of a single product in large tracts of land and everything worked with machinery. and it is why dimensions that should recover traditional, political traditions of ancient peasants they maintained and looked after the environment and had a healthy food sovereignty.
    and I came to the conclusion. agro-ecology, is partly work or maintain production with polyculture interspersed, carry out practices of soil, management of water, fertilizers, organic, organic, keep living seed production native trees, and so achieve a sovereignty Food, energy for the good life of people.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      July 23, 2018 at 11:38 am

      Hi Carmen,

      Beautiful, thank you for sharing about your region and the consolidation of power, land and crop varities. This is a common trend all over the world! Your understanding of agroecology is good. In addition, remember that agroecology is also a social movement. How do you see it addresses justice and community, power and social issues? What are some examples in Cusco?

      • Carmen Flores Ccasa Flores Ccasa

        Member
        August 12, 2018 at 6:12 pm

        Well, currently the rural population in 40% left the production lands because they do not have the support of their local authorities, either in helping to look for market as fairs, to market their natural or ecological products; privatization of water for their crops, is no longer the same as before.
        the authorities take advantage of the power to negotiate the mountains and thus enrich themselves with the gold of those places, explosions of the mineries and that makes the water no longer suitable for the irrigation of the products.
        One of the social problems that exists today: is that the families that practiced agriculture no longer carry it out as before due to reasons that do not have seeds, water and natural compost. now the majority sees it in buying agrochemicals because it supposedly offers them profitable production and quantity.
        And another part of the community, struggles to preserve their ancestral production and carry out a healthy food sovereignty, prior to all the problems that exist.

      • Katie Brimm

        Administrator
        August 14, 2018 at 3:09 pm

        Thank you for sharing Carmen!

  • Pauline Bureau

    Member
    August 19, 2018 at 7:33 am

    From what I learnt, agroecology comes into play at the nature level, based on a location’s strenghts and its ecosystems’ interaction, and on ancestral knowledge that reproduces natural processes, which provides better resilience. But also at the human level, from sustainable practices, and from this movement where the long term objective looks at food sovereignty, answering to the new demand coming from consumers on short cycles and local food consumption, and care about reducing external interferents, by focusing on organic. It is where the complexity comes from, how to manage to take into account consumers’ expectations, while direct or indirect sustainability effects are not always visible quickly, compared to traditional intensive agriculture.

  • Carly Maher Maher

    Member
    August 21, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    Agroecology has many facets including scientific, political, and cultural. One of the main goal of agroecology is food sovereignty. Agroecology is not a formula or specific method but is very site specific and draw on ancestral knowledge and culture. It is a bottom up system.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      August 28, 2018 at 6:01 pm

      Hi Carly,

      Thanks for your response! Its important to note that while agroecolog looks different in each site and is informed by the people and environment of that place, there are a set of practices and principles that do help distinguish agroecology. What are some examples?

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      August 28, 2018 at 6:01 pm

      Hi Carly,

      Thanks for your response! Its important to note that while agroecolog looks different in each site and is informed by the people and environment of that place, there are a set of practices and principles that do help distinguish agroecology. What are some examples?

  • Bari Zeiger

    Member
    September 18, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    Reaching an accurate and comprehensive definition of agroecology on the individual level is, in many ways, inherently similar to the implementation of agroecological principles; it requires a comprehension of the broader ethos while injecting individualized, local character. As such, definitions of agroecology, while they may present themselves as abundantly diverse and personalized, are strung together with the common thread of core values. For me, agroecology is a complex and nuanced multi-disciplined paradigm that emphasizes a holistic approach to encouraging the wellness of and beneficial synergy among peoples, communities, and the environment by supporting small-scale food producers. In contrast with the industrial model, agroecology places cultural and environmental stewardship and regeneration as the “goals,” and optimized food production and resilient communities are the logical byproduct. Agroecology recognizes and attempts to avoid the missteps and shortcuts of the modern, conventional system by acknowledging and embracing the grave importance of species and genetic diversity, soil health/fertility, prudent and renewable resource (ie:water, nutrients) and energy use, farmer autonomy, community sovereignty, etc. and fostering these elements with immense care. As such, prioritizing these elements paves the road for success. Healthy, empowered, free peoples are able to endure and mitigate climatic change and responsibly improve systems for future generations who have plentiful access to passed-down knowledge.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      October 9, 2018 at 3:20 pm

      Beautiful response, you certainly have developed a deep understanding of the term. This is nicely put as well: “In contrast with the industrial model, agroecology places cultural and environmental stewardship and regeneration as the “goals,” and optimized food production and resilient communities are the logical byproduct.” I would add that food sovereignty is an additional goal of agroeocology, making it part of a larger social movement. Well, said, thank you!

  • Marcia Suarez Huete

    Member
    April 12, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    For me the concept is so broad that we are all right with our assessments, the approach that we want to visualize depends, thanks to all of them for their excellent answers, very well analyzed.
    From my point of view it is the dream we all have to live in harmony with the other elements that we share on this planet, where human beings must learn to live and interact through good practices and ecological principles already established from the beginning, for a more equitable and sustainable world, returning to resume self-sustaining production models

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      August 27, 2019 at 11:05 am

      Beautiful, Marcia. Thank you for sharing your vision for Agroecology. You’ve been learning for awhile now on the course – has your concept of agroecology changed at all?

  • Marion Mutuku

    Member
    May 16, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    • My best definition was; Agroecology is a way of life and language of nature that we learn as her children. The practice may be done differently from one geographical point to another but the main goal was to protect mother earth and all the common shared values.
    • Agroecology is not about techniques but it is mainly a tool to change our society, link people to farmers.
    • Agroecology is not expensive because it uses products which are obtained from the farm.
    • I believe agroecology is the tool that we can use to reach food sovereignty.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      August 27, 2019 at 11:07 am

      Thank you Marion, these are great reflections. One thing to note here is that while Agroecology is indeed a tool and a pathway to Food Sovereignty, it does in fact include specific techniques grounded in ecology and science that round out the practical side of Agroecology. What are some examples you can name?

  • Kimberly Wright~Smith

    Member
    August 22, 2019 at 9:13 pm

    Argo ecology is the ecological concepts & principles regarding design and management of sustainable Argo-ecosystems, with 3 primary focuses that stem from three areas that I try to live my life by, 1: committed (scientific discipline/study), 2: <span style=”font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; -webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;”>values & actions (principles & practices)and 3: continuous learning/growing (movement). Additionally, it’s the ability to create an adaptable “win-win” situation for all: our environment, the food we eat, the farmers, in spite of where we live globally.</span>

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      August 27, 2019 at 11:09 am

      Thank you for your great response Kim. These three areas are nice examples of Agroecology pillars. I wonder, how do you see agroecology interacting with political movements? 

  • Jacqueline Rivera

    Member
    August 30, 2019 at 11:31 am

    Agroecology is a way of living and producing that takes into account the significance and vitality of replicating the processes in nature. This means producing in harmony with our surroundings and local resources and understanding the science and role all beings take in this process from the animals, and elements to the peoples. It is a practice deeply rooted in indigenous and peasant knowledge and resiliency – and thus must be recognized in that way and not as something “new”. 

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      September 2, 2019 at 10:39 am

      Lovely Jacqueline, you do a nice job of reflecting some of the harder to describe parts of Agroecology. When you say Agroecology must not be recognized as “New”, could you share more about why that is important? 

  • Fernando Fernandez Levia

    Member
    August 30, 2019 at 11:34 am

    Agroecology based on the material provided, it’s a holistic way to produce food, organize society and insurance food sovereignty in balance with the natural cycles.  But doesn’t exist just one definition for agroecology, because every single community develops an own understanding about how agroecology works for them. If we believe in the principles of agroecology we need to be a commitment with the local values, traditions, and cultural background.  

    To share some principles what I feel  agroecology represents to me: 

    a) Revalue knowledge traditions of indigenous communities

    b) Respect and work with natural cycles.

    c) Promoting organizations and cross-cultural dialogues to change the political and economical system.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      September 2, 2019 at 10:36 am

      Hi Fernando, beautiful response. Did your understanding of Agroecology change after the materials? Did anything surprise you? Also, when you say “Respect Natural Cycles”, I wonder if you can give some examples of what that means and how that can be practiced through farming?

  • Fernando Fernandez Levia

    Member
    September 10, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    Actually yes, after to saw the material and videos I could understand how many diverse approaches coexist in the world about agroecology. For me, was incredible to discover all productive areas of food can be involved in agroecology in specifically artisanal fishing. 

    When I talk about respect nature cycles, I refer to understand how nature works in special with farming. For example, if we wan to improve the quality of soil it’s important being aware of life in the soil. All the microorganism and fungus they work together to feed plants and get minerals for their development. When we understand their life cycle we also can respect their process and facilitate that harmony. 

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      September 10, 2019 at 4:49 pm

      Beautiful, thanks for sharing Fernando! 

  • Amelia Eckles

    Member
    September 12, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    I’m completely new to agroecology, and will probably develop a much more comprehensive, accurate definition of the term as I continue with this course! That being said, here’s what I understand at this point in time:

    Agroecology melds scientific understanding with experiential knowledge. It is a whole-systems based approach that should not (or cannot) be homogenized or replicated due to its understanding of differing, place-based needs. It is a working example of the reality that we can (and should!) use different methods to reach the same goals of sovereignty, autonomy, and sustainability.

    • Katie Brimm

      Administrator
      September 12, 2019 at 5:47 pm

      Hi Amelia, thank you for sharing your understanding of Agroecology. Something to add is that Agroecology is also a set of principles and practices to be applied to agriculture. This is a beautiful response, and we look forward to hearing how your understanding changes as you move through the course! 

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