Agroecology is much more than a set of technologies; it is a political and social system, a way of life, a form of resistance against corporate control of the food system, and quite simply the only means of achieving food sovereignty.
– Ayla Fenton, former NFU Youth Vice-President
Agroecology is a holistic approach to food production that uses—and creates—social, cultural, economic and environmental knowledge to promote food sovereignty, social justice, economic sustainability, and healthy agricultural ecosystems.
Ultimately, agroecology means bringing agriculture back into harmony with human ecology, including our biology, our environment, and our cultural and political structures.
In the fight against the corporate control of our food system, there is an opportunity— and a need—to establish agroecology as an essential component of food sovereignty. The NFU promotes agroecology as part of a coherent and unified movement with our allies around the world in La Vía Campesina.
Common Pillars of Agroecology
- Agroecology is a way of life, not just a set of technologies or production practices, and must be adapted to local contexts.
- Production practices should be based on ecological principles and an understanding that life cannot be commodified.
- Reduction of externally purchased inputs, and increased farm and community self-sufficiency will allow for greater farmer autonomy and strengthened rural economies.
- Peoples and communities who feed the world need their collective rights protected in order to secure their access and control over the commons (seeds, land, waters, knowledge, and culture).
- Knowledge sharing for food producers must be horizontal, peer-to-peer and intergenerational.
- Direct, fair distribution chains, transparent relationships, and solidarity between producers and consumers are needed to displace corporate control of global markets and generate self-governance by communities.
- Agroecology is political and requires us to transform the structures of power in society.
- Youth and women are the principal social bases for the evolution of agro- ecology. Territorial and social dynamics must allow for leadership and control of land and resources by women and youth.
* Based on La Via Campesina’s Declaration of the International Forum On Agroecology (2015)
In 2015, the NFU’s International Program Committee (IPC) produced a booklet focusing on Agroecology and Food sovereignty. English and French versions are available (click image to download PDF document).
Other Agroecology Resources
Agroecology as a way of life, Declaration of the First Assembly of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Open book chapter La Via Campesina and Agroecology, by Peter M. Rosset and Maria Elena Martinez Torres (2012).
Diálogo de saberes in La VíaCampesina: food sovereignty and agroecology, by María Elena Martínez-Torres & Peter M. Rosset (2014).
Report: Agroecology and the right to food by Olivier De Schutter, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food (2011).
Final report for the International Symposium on Agroecology for Food Security and Nutrition organized by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on 18 and 19 September 2014 in Rome, Italy.