Jairo Restrepo is a passionate educator and activist, known throughout South America for his practical support of small farmers as well as his campaigns for their rights in the face of powerful agribusiness. He is unique in that he argues for farmers’ autonomy and self-determination but also teaches an array of practical technologies and preparations to increase soil fertility and transform cropping. He offers tools and inspiration for farmers and activists alike.
In this talk, Jairo will cover the effects of industrial agriculture on our soils, diet and ultimately on our souls. After many years of working as a government scientist, he does not reject technology but wants us to recognise farmers as guardians, innovators, researchers and quiet revolutionaries. He writes, “We don’t want to change technology; we want to transform society, thereby changing the technological proposal. Today the opposite occurs, the dominant type of technology proposes a society subjugated to industry. My dream is to construct a being, an ideal state of a being, so that I shall not be the ideal being of the State”.
Drawing from his knowledge of biochemistry, Jairo has developed a set of low-tech practices that help remineralise the soil and increase photosynthesis through the use of biofertilisers. These have been widely adopted throughout South America and are now spreading in Africa, America and Europe. His talk will cover some examples of this work and the impact it has on living systems and human diet.
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