This session will present preliminary findings of ongoing research on the experiences of agroecological entrepreneurs in Africa conducted by the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) and the Agroecology Fund (AEF). The speakers will present their perspectives on the question: “Shaping the Future of Food Markets: What kind of markets do we need for the transition to agroecology?” This was the AFSA food systems conference theme held in October 2020. The panelists will explore why and how local and regional territorial markets for agroecological products can be a strategic lever for amplifying agroecology across Africa by sustaining smallholder farmers with income.
Communities within oil spill zones face great challenges as they attempt to recover from devastation. Thirty-one years after the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska, several species, including Pacific herring, marbled murrelets, pigeon guillemots and the region's transient killer whale pod are on the verge of extinction. A major decline of fisheries has led to loss of subsistence and commercial fishing livelihoods for Alaska Native People.
One way we can help heal the ocean and create new opportunities for the people is through the cultivation of regenerative kelp farms/forests along the 1,500-mile stretch of coast impacted by the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. Kelp provides habitat during a critical phase of wild salmon and herring life cycles. Kelp is also a traditional food source for Alaska Native Peoples that has been harvested for millennia. (The Eyak word for kelp is: duh.)
Dune Lankard, an Eyak Elder, longtime activist, and Founder of Native Conservancy has designed a pilot program that integrates Eyak ecological knowledge and science and puts it to work in the Exxon Valdez Spill Zone. Native Conservancy currently has seven research kelp farms in the water, and will be testing the kelp this spring.
Thinking about fungi makes the world look different. Most fungi live out of sight, yet make up a massively diverse kingdom of organisms that support and sustain nearly all living systems. Fungi throw our concepts of individuality and even intelligence into question. They can change our minds, heal our bodies, and help remediate environmental disaster. In this conversation, Merlin Sheldrake and Charles Foster will discuss the ways these extraordinary organisms – and our relationships with them – change our understanding of the planet on which we live, and the ways that we think, feel, and behave.
Around the world livestock farmers face challenges from infectious disease, parasites and various stress related issues. Meanwhile, globally, efficacy of antibiotics and other veterinary pharmaceuticals is breaking down, threatening human health as well as livestock and planetary health. While many agri-industry and research organisations are turning to, and trusting, genetic engineering and biotechnology for a solution, more ecologically and biologically sound alternatives are not getting the attention they deserve – in terms of both prevention and treatment of disease. Many effective holistic approaches can be found throughout the world but are rarely documented, evaluated and promoted. This session will present and discuss evidence, veterinary advice, farmer experience and offer practical nonconventional solutions to livestock health problems.
An invitation to farmers to come and learn about forage crops and grazing practices that enable farming systems to be resilient to climate change as well as optimise livestock growth and positive health from forage.
We take a look at farmers’ experiences of resilient forage crops in the context of changing climatic conditions. This is a chance to hear directly from a farmer about an Innovative Farmers trial on extended grazing of lucerne by sheep (adapted NZ system), the benefits of herbal leys to provide green forage, and rotational grazing approaches to maximise forage production and livestock growth from forage.
Under the dominant global politico-economic framework, which champions ‘growth’ at the expense of human and environmental wellbeing, degradation of natural resources has reached dangerous levels, threatening irreversible climate change and biodiversity loss. In an effort to reform the unmediated use of natural resources, there is an increasing call amongst mainstream thinkers to recognise nature as an 'asset' through the framework of ‘natural capital.’ In this panel discussion, we will critically evaluate this logic and consider alternative ways of thinking about nature and its preservation.
For years now, people have been inundated with promises about the potential of genetically modified organisms and other ‘precision’ and ‘digitalised’ farm technologies. People are told that these modern technologies have to be embraced to both address food security and tackle climate change. According to the advocates of these technofixes, regions that don’t adopt these new technologies – especially in the Global South – are doomed to remain stuck in the dark ages.
In this session, you will hear voices of resistance to these new technologies from different parts of the world. They will share their insights on how UK (and other Western) corporations, research, states and foundations have been and continue to seek to export technology packages to engineer agroecosystems. Starting from testimonies and historical insights in technology resistance struggles, this session seeks to disrupt assumptions that ‘Western’ technology should be promoted in the Global South. We will also start unpacking how (bio)technology relates to questions of colonialism, decolonization and development.
We are witnessing the increasing financialisation of land and territories as land and natural resources are sold off to financial actors such as banks, pension funds, and insurance companies. These actors often make use of complex investment webs involving any number of intermediaries, brokers, tax avoidance loopholes and off-shore schemes. All of these are attempts to distance themselves from public scrutiny, regulation, taxation and accountability. This is hugely disempowering for communities as it means that decisions are taken about land that are distant, undemocratic and hidden.
And agricultural land is by no means protected. And whether the new owners have purely financial motivations or have some interest in what the land offers (biomass, commodity sales), the outcome is the same: investors acquiring shares prioritise profitability, relegating agricultural production together with its social functions and its environmental objectives to a secondary place.
This session seeks to address the following questions:
To what extent is financialisation happening in Europe?
What are the consequences in terms of transparency of land ownership, the flouting of regulations, the impact on farmers' independence, and impact on farm succession?
How may we combat the financialisation of land sales?
This panel brings a number of farmers from Java, Indonesia, to share their real farming strategies in developing their adaptive capability towards the consequences of climate change and other hazards. The farmers are “real rainfall observers of their own fields” who have learned the agrometeorological method of analysis in the Science Field Shops in solving their vulnerabilities. Some coping strategies will be presented directly by farmers consisting of:
adaptation strategies to El Niňo by determining planting schedule and by changing cropping pattern;
adaptation strategies to La Niňa by avoiding planting rice and water melon, and by managing drainage in horticultural farming; and
mitigating gas emission and making soil healthy in rice farming.
Agrometeorological expert, Sue Walker, will provide a brief remark of farmers’ coping strategies.