New Study Shows The Viability Of Ecological Food Systems In Latin America And The Caribbean To Solve Global Problems
The transformative capacity of agroecology, regenerative and indigenous food in Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and Cuba is demonstrated in a landmark new global report.
Tuesday, March 15, 2022 – Today, Global Alliance for the Future of Food releases The Politics of Knowledge: Understanding the Evidence for Agroecology, Regenerative Approaches, and Indigenous Foodways, an interactive report that unpacks evidence for how agroecology, regenerative agricultural practices and traditional? Indigenous? food customs are transforming the food systems of Latin America and the world, advocating for more transformative research and action and calling on funders and policymakers to help accelerate the multidimensional solutions they provide to complex issues.
This report provides different types of evidence (actual experiences, traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples, scientific analysis, oral histories, and peer-reviewed articles) that support the performance, scaling-up potential and economic viability of agroecological practices, with examples from countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, among other regions of the world.
The industrialized food system is one of the greatest stressors to the health of the planet, causing 80% of biodiversity loss and generating almost a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. Alternatively, agroecology, regenerative agriculture and indigenous knowledge are avenues that can lead to sustainable food systems and repair the relationship between people and nature. However, the evidence supporting these practices, although abundant, is not prioritized in government policies or budgets, due to the limited frames of traditional analysis. Skepticism ends up holding back the urgent transformation of food systems, say the authors of the report.
The report provides a holistic perspective on the impact of agroecology, and through the resources of its interactive digital format, it contributes to the understanding of these practices.
- Traditional agricultural indicators such as yield per hectare or scalability are insufficient to prove the virtuous capacity of alternative agricultural approaches to feed and nourish humanity through sustainable food systems based on equity, justice and reciprocity, not just large-scale food production.
- Agroecology, regenerative agricultural practices, and indigenous food customs are systemic solutions with positive health and nutrition outcomes. These types of practices bring a sense of purpose, dignity, social justice and climate action to millions of people around the world. For example, the case study by the Latin American Center for Agroecological Research (CELIA) identified the resilience of agricultural systems in México, Cuba, Perú, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, and Argentina to extreme weather events and their capacity to recover.
- Food transformation requires changing the research, education and innovation systems, especially the short-term approach, the prioritization of “cheap” food and the design of measures that are insufficient due to their narrow focus. For example, in the Andean highlands of Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru, the Collaborative Crop Research Program (CCRP) demonstrates how to unify different agroecological knowledge so that farmers can make better decisions and provide conclusive agroecological and climatic evidence.
According to the authors of this report, if we do not look for and centre diverse evidence in decision-making about the future of food, we will be limited to designing ineffective and isolated solutions, incapable of responding to the major global challenges we face.
The cooperation between public and private donors and funders to promote an independent transdisciplinary research and action program focused on political and social justice and food sovereignty for the transformation of food systems is one of the main recommendations of this study.
“When addressing complex global challenges such as climate change, growing inequality, malnutrition, food insecurity, and loss of biodiversity, we have demonstrated the virtuous benefits of agroecology,” says Lauren Baker, Programs Director at Global Alliance for the Future of Food. “The future of food must be healthy, resilient and equitable, and it is urgent to rethink the knowledge, evidence, and analysis needed from a holistic and inclusive approach. With this new material in hand, donors and researchers alike will be able to leverage the transformative power and accelerate change in favor of agroecological, indigenous and regenerative practices at a time when these are most needed.”
Seventy authors from 17 teams and 15 countries participated in the preparation of this report. They represent the geographic, institutional, sectoral, gender and racial diversity of our planet. They include organizations and networks of practitioners, researchers, farmers and food providers, indigenous peoples and foundations working in the food systems sector at national and international levels.
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About Global Alliance for the Future of Food
Global Alliance for the Future of Food is a strategic alliance of philanthropic foundations working together and with others to transform the world’s food systems today and for future generations.