Posts

Pairing Agroforestry with Livestock: The Major Benefits

‘Ecology’ is the study of relationships between plants, animals, people and the environment, with a specific focus on how these elements work together. ‘Agroecology’, then, is the application of these ecological concepts to farming, specifically: using nature and natural relationships to boost your farm’s yields, productivity and more.

We have a lot of faith in agroecology, and there’s evidence to suggest that, by making agroecological practices more mainstream, we could make our food and farming systems more sustainable and healthy. It doesn’t have to be complicated to get involved in agroecological methods, either. In fact, agroforestry – the process of combining trees with crops or livestock – is something you can get started with straight away, according to farmer Nikki Yoxall. Nikki runs Howemill Farm and Grampian Graziers, and has been using agroforestry on her farm for over two years. We talked to her about what her experience of this nature-friendly farming practice has been like, the benefits to her cattle and more below…

KEEP READING ON SOIL ASSOCIATION

Agroecología, la agricultura de la biodiversidad

¿Sabías que los suelos acogen una cuarta parte de la biodiversidad de nuestro planeta? El suelo es uno de los ecosistemas más complejos de la naturaleza y uno de los hábitats más diversos de la Tierra. Cobija infinidad de organismos diferentes que interactúan entre sí y contribuyen a los procesos y ciclos globales que hacen posible la vida.

Sin embargo, el uso que hacemos de él se encuentra entre las actividades humanas que más inciden en el cambio global y climático. Los modelos agrícolas dominantes durante los últimos cien años, junto con el sobrepastoreo y la deforestación, son responsables de un deterioro del suelo que implica la desertificación y la transferencia de grandes cantidades de carbono desde la materia orgánica que se encuentra bajo nuestros pies hacia la atmósfera, lo que contribuye al calentamiento global y, por ende, afecta a la salud de los seres vivos.

¿Es posible un modelo agroalimentario que ayude a regenerar los ecosistemas y que, a su vez, asegure los alimentos y la salud en un planeta con más de 7.700 millones de seres humanos y en pleno cambio climático?

CONTINUE LEYENDO EN 20 MINUTOS

¿Qué es la agricultura regenerativa?

La agricultura regenerativa es un método de cultivo sostenible que puede reponer los nutrientes del suelo mientras combate el cambio climático.

La agricultura regenerativa es un nombre moderno para la forma en que se practicaba la agricultura durante siglos, antes del inicio de la agricultura industrial a principios del siglo XX.

Volver a esas prácticas tradicionales está cobrando impulso como una forma de revertir el daño causado al clima y al suelo de los que todos dependemos para nuestra alimentación y supervivencia.

El mundo corre sobre tierra vegetal. Es la fuente del 95% de nuestra alimentación. Durante siglos, los agricultores confiaron en la fertilidad natural del suelo para producir alimentos. Sin embargo, a principios del siglo XX, los fertilizantes químicos se hicieron necesarios para mantener esa fertilidad.

La agricultura industrial depende de insumos constantes de fertilizantes químicos para mantener la productividad del suelo.

Tipos de prácticas agrícolas regenerativas

Si bien puede parecer un término nuevo debido a un cambio creciente en las técnicas agrícolas, la agricultura regenerativa incluye una amplia gama de prácticas que han sido utilizadas por los agricultores durante décadas, incluso siglos.

CONTINUE LEYENDO EN ECOPORTAL

Caminos de Regeneración: la agrosilvicultura trabaja con la naturaleza y usa los árboles para cultivar alimentos

BRUSELAS, BÉLGICA – En nuestro último episodio de “Caminos de Regeneración”, exploramos las raíces de la agrosilvicultura y cómo la agricultura industrial ha dejado de lado las antiguas prácticas agrícolas que producen alimentos saludables al mismo tiempo que cuidan el medio ambiente.

Cuando se trata de agricultura, el viejo dicho “la naturaleza es sabia” es totalmente cierto. Trabajar con la naturaleza en lugar de contra ella es una mentalidad que se remonta a principios de la historia de la humanidad, cuando los campesinos dependían del conocimiento y las tradiciones ancestrales para cultivar alimentos.

Nuestro nuevo episodio, “La agrosilvicultura en la actualidad, parte 1: Una breve historia de la agrosilvicultura”, presenta a Patrick Worms, asesor de política científica del Centro Mundial de Agrosilvicultura con sede en Nairobi y presidente de la Federación Agroforestal Europea.

La agrosilvicultura es una forma de agricultura que combina árboles y arbustos con cultivos alimentarios. Da prioridad a la naturaleza y es una de las formas más antiguas de agricultura. La agrosilvicultura considera que el paisaje natural y la integración de los árboles crean un sistema alimentario con beneficios ambientales, sociales y económicos.

Worms ha pasado décadas investigando y desarrollando sistemas agroforestales en todo el mundo. Es uno de los pocos cabilderos políticos y científicos en temas agroforestales en Bruselas y en otras partes de Europa, donde aporta su experiencia en políticas agrícolas.

Agrosilvicultura: el arte de leer un paisaje para mejorar la productividad agrícola

En una entrevista de Zoom con Regeneration International, Worms explicó cómo la introducción de tecnología moderna en el sector agrícola (pesticidas, fertilizantes sintéticos y equipos agrícolas como tractores, arados y cosechadoras) ha hecho que miles de años de evolución agrícola utilizando árboles hayan llegado a un camino sin salida.

El lado positivo es que a medida que las limitaciones de la agricultura industrializada se vuelven más obvias, estamos redescubriendo la sabiduría del antiguo conocimiento agroforestal, dijo Worms.

En el Centro Mundial de Agrosilvicultura, Worms está trabajando en nuevas formas de implementar sistemas agroforestales en todo el mundo y en regiones que se enfrentan a la escasez de alimentos y a los impactos del cambio climático y la desertificación.

“Si observas esos paisajes, son paisajes agroforestales típicos con jardines de múltiples estratos, plantas anuales en el suelo, enredaderas que trepan por los árboles, arbustos de tamaño medio y árboles más altos con animales y cultivos en el medio”.

La agrosilvicultura, una práctica tan antigua como la historia humana.

Los ejemplos de sistemas agroforestales se encuentran en todo el mundo y han estado presentes a  lo largo de la historia de la humanidad. Desde la domesticación del árbol del cacao en América Central y del Sur, hasta la higuera, que se originó en el suroeste de Asia y es una de las frutas más antiguas consumidas por los humanos, los sistemas agroforestales han producido algunos de los alimentos más populares de la actualidad.

Los primeros humanos que practicaban la agrosilvicultura desarrollaron sistemas agrícolas exitosos no porque tuvieran científicos con batas blancas de laboratorio, sino porque tenían un proceso constante de prueba y error. Las prácticas que eran exitosas eran adoptadas y transmitidas, y las que salían mal eran abandonadas, dijo Worms, y agregó:

“Pero la modernidad ha acabado todo eso. El conocimiento que nuestros antepasados adquirieron minuciosamente por milenios ​​ha desaparecido por completo”.

Reemplazar las prácticas agrícolas basadas en miles de años de conocimiento ancestral por una agricultura industrial dependiente de productos químicos ha degradado el suelo, eliminado la biodiversidad, despojado los alimentos de los nutrientes esenciales y esclavizado y endeudado a los campesinos con las principales corporaciones agrícolas.

La buena noticia es que el retorno a la agrosilvicultura y la ampliación de los sistemas de agricultura orgánica y regenerativa pueden revertir el daño causado por la agricultura industrial.

Los sistemas alimentarios y agrícolas que trabajan en armonía con en el medio ambiente absorben y almacenan carbono en el suelo y gracias a eso pueden mejorar el sustento social y económico de los campesinos, reconstruir la salud del suelo, promover la biodiversidad y las cuencas hidrográficas limpias, producir alimentos saludables y mitigar el cambio climático.

 Esto es precisamente lo que describió Food Tank: The Think Tank For Food de manera tan elocuente en octubre de este año:

“Si queremos proteger nuestro planeta y tener alimentos saludables en nuestra mesa, la agroecología es el camino a seguir”.

Para obtener más información sobre la agrosilvicultura y algunas de las mejores prácticas que se implementan en la actualidad, permanezca atento al próximo episodio, “La agrosilvicultura en la actualidad, parte 2: Las buenas prácticas de hoy”, en esta serie de dos partes.

 

Oliver Gardiner representa a Regeneration International en Europa y Asia. Julie Wilson, asociada de comunicaciones de la Asociación de Consumidores Orgánicos (OCA), contribuyó a este artículo. Para mantenerse al día con noticias y eventos, regístrese aquí para recibir el boletín de Regeneración Internacional.

 

Why Agroecology, not Agribusiness, Will Save Our Food System

The global food system needs transforming, and family farmers can get us there. With centuries of knowledge in sustainable agriculture, farmers innovate daily to adapt and respond to the existential crises of COVID-19 and climate change. For our organization, ActionAid USA, showing up for farmers means standing up to the political leaders who claim to represent them but instead align with agribusiness.

Over the past year, Donald Trump’s Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies in Rome, agribusiness baron Kip Tom, has unleashed repeated attacks on the UN Food and Agricultural Organization for discussing how agroecology can improve food security.

While it is hardly surprising to see the Trump administration taking shots at multilateralism or pushing corporate interests, Tom’s comments reveal how threatened agribusinesses are by the movements of farmers and workers to create a global food system for all.

The ambassador’s latest attack comes in an op-ed, in which he vilifies agroecology, accuses agroecology of spreading the locust invasion in African countries, and preys upon people’s worst fears of hunger. These statements are dangerous at worst, baseless at best.

According to Tom, agroecology is part of a global conspiracy in which nongovernmental organizations trick developing countries into rejecting genetically modified crops and synthetic chemical inputs, thereby depriving them of these technologies and keeping them poor.

He calls for the U.S. to reclaim its role in leading and spreading the so-called “Innovation Imperative” for agriculture, meaning the administration and U.S. agribusiness companies should take more control over land and agriculture.

It’s alarming to hear a diplomat make such an inaccurate, neo-colonialist pronouncement, ignoring the reality of family farmers and people who face hunger around the world.

The ambassador’s version of the Green Revolution fails to count the environmental and human cost. Tons of pesticides have poisoned both water and people and have robbed the soil of its ability to regenerate. Farmers everywhere have been forced to take on insurmountable levels of debt to afford the proprietary and expensive technology he touts as miraculous.

In the U.S., farmers are paying out-of-pocket for the massive mechanization and industrialization of agriculture that dismantle small farms in favor of large monoculture. In India, far too many farmers fall into debt after adopting high-cost, high-tech solutions and attempt suicide, seeing no other way out.

Tom also blames agroecology’s aversion to pesticides for causing the locust outbreaks. This accusation is false. Pest management is an important part of farming, including agroecology, and the massive use of chemical pesticides provokes further problems as they remain in the soil and water for long periods and are dangerous to humans, livestock, fauna, and the whole environment.

It’s clear that the factors leading to the locust outbreak, including cyclones, favorable climate favorable conditions for swarms, COVID-19 measures restricting movement, and the lack of permanent infrastructure to respond quickly, have nothing to do with agroecology. On the contrary, agroecology can revert some of these factors by building a more diversified and resilient agricultural system.

As for Tom’s claim that we can’t feed the world farming this way, it ignores the reality that most people already depend on smallholder farmers for their food. Across developing countries, an estimated 500 million smallholder farms support almost 2 billion people. These farms produce about 80 percent of the food consumed in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Tom wants you to believe agroecology is anti-technology. Yes, millions of small-scale food producers want to farm in harmony with nature. But they don’t reject technology. What they reject is highly priced, patented technology that locks them into a cycle of debt to agribusiness companies. They reject the power agribusiness has amassed in developed countries to dictate agricultural policy.

As CEO of Tom Farms, one of Bayer-Monsanto’s biggest seed growers, the ambassador speaks for powerful interests beyond the high-tech industry and big agribusiness that promise great benefits for the few that can afford them, at the expense of the poorest people and the environment. Tom also has the backing of an administration that tried to block progress on agroecology at last year’s UN Committee for World Food Security meetings. Under their logic, those who gain are not farmers but the shareholders of big corporations.

Family farmers are clear: if we are going to protect our planet and keep healthy food on our table, agroecology is the way forward.

And they aren’t alone.

In a report comparing sustainable agriculture approaches, the High-Level Panel of Experts recognized how “agroecology practices harness, maintain and enhance biological and ecological processes in agricultural production, in order to reduce the use of purchased inputs that include fossil fuels and agrochemicals and to create more diverse, resilient and productive agroecosystems.”

The movement for agroecology is growing, built on the logic that power should be distributed equally. That’s why aggressive opponents to agroecology like Tom are firing back. They’re scared.

 

Reposted with permission from Food Tank

Africa at the Crossroads: Time to Abandon Failing Green Revolution

As COVID-19 threatens farming communities across Africa already struggling with climate change, the continent is at a crossroads. Will its people and their governments continue trying to replicate industrial farming models promoted by developed countries? Or will they move boldly into the uncertain future, embracing ecological agriculture?

It is time to choose. Africa is projected to overtake South Asia by 2030 as the region with the greatest number of hungry people. An alarming 250 million people in Africa now suffer from “undernourishment,” the U.N. term for chronic hunger. If policies do not change, experts project that number to soar to 433 million in 2030.

The evidence is now convincing that the Green Revolution model of agriculture, with its commercial seeds and synthetic fertilizers, has failed to bring progress for Africa’s farmers. Since 2006, under the banner of the billion-dollar Alliance for a Green Revolution for Africa (AGRA), that strategy has had an unprecedented opportunity to generate improved productivity, incomes, and food security for small-scale farmers. African governments have spent billions of dollars subsidizing and promoting the adoption of these imported technologies

According to a recent report, “False Promises.” evidence from AGRA’s 13 countries indicates that it is taking Africa in the wrong direction. Productivity has improved marginally, and only for a few chosen crops such as maize. Others have withered in a drought of neglect from donor agencies and government leaders. In AGRA’s 13 focus countries, the production of millet, a hearty, nutritious and climate-resilient grain, fell 24% while yields declined 21%. This leaves poor farmers with less crop diversity in their fields and less nutritious food on their children’s plates.

Small-scale farming households, the intended beneficiaries of Green Revolution programs, seem scarcely better off. Poverty remains high, and severe food insecurity has increased 31% across AGRA’s 13 countries, as measured by the United Nations.

Rwanda, the home country of AGRA’s president, Agnes Kalibata, is held up as an example of AGRA’s success. After all, maize production increased fourfold since AGRA began in 2006 under Kalibata’s leadership as Agriculture Minister. The “False Promises” report refers to Rwanda as “AGRA’s hungry poster child.” All that maize apparently did not benefit the rural poor. Other crops went into decline and the number of undernourished Rwandans increased 41% since 2006, according to the most recent U.N. figures.

Green Revolution proponents have had 14 years to demonstrate they can lead Africa into a food-secure future. Billions of dollars later, they have failed. AGRA wrapped up its annual Green Revolution Forum September 11 without providing any substantive responses to the findings.

With a pandemic threatening to disrupt what climate change does not, Africa needs to take a different path, one that focuses on ecological farm management using low-cost, low-input methods that rely on a diversity of crops to improve soils and diets.

Many farmers are already blazing that trail, and some governments are following with bold steps to change course.

In fact, two of the three AGRA countries that have reduced both the number and share of undernourished people – Ethiopia and Mali – have done so in part due to policies that support ecological agriculture.

Ethiopia, which has reduced the incidence of undernourishment from 37% to 20% since 2006, has built on a 25-year effort in the northern Tigray Region to promote compost, not just chemical fertilizer, along with soil and water conservation practices, and biological control of pests. In field trials, such practices have proven more effective than Green Revolution approaches. The program was so successful it has become a national program and is currently being implemented in at least five regions.

Mali is the AGRA country that showed the greatest success in reducing the incidence of hunger (from 14% to 5% since 2006). According to a case study in the “False Promises” report, progress came not because of AGRA but because the government and farmers’ organizations actively resisted its implementation. Land and seed laws guarantee farmers’ rights to choose their crops and farming practices, and government programs promote not just maize but a wide variety of food crops.

Mali is part of a growing regional effort in West Africa to promote agroecology. According to a recent report by the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has developed an Agroecology Transition Support Program to promote the shift away from Green Revolution practices. The work is supported by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as part of its “Scaling Up Agroecology” program.

In Burkina Faso, Mali, and Senegal, farmers’ organizations are working with their governments to promote agroecology, including the subsidization of biofertilizers and other natural inputs as alternatives to synthetic fertilizers.

In the drylands of West Africa, farmers in Burkina Faso, Senegal, Ghana and Niger are leading “another kind of green revolution.” They are regenerating tree growth and diversifying production as part of agro-forestry initiatives increasingly supported by national governments. This restores soil fertility, increases water retention, and has been shown to increase yields 40%-100% within five years while increasing farmer incomes and food security. It runs counter to AGRA’s approach of agricultural intensification.

Senegal, which cut the incidence of severe hunger from 17% to 9% since 2006, is one of the regional leaders. Papa Abdoulaye Seck, Senegal’s Ambassador to the FAO, summarized the reasons the government is so committed to the agroecological transition in a foreword to the IPES report:

“We have seen agroecological practices improve the fertility of soils degraded by drought and chemical input use. We have seen producers’ incomes increase thanks to the diversification of their crop production and the establishment of new distribution channels. We have seen local knowledge enriched by modern science to develop techniques inspired by lived experience, with the capacity to reduce the impacts of climate change. And we have seen these results increase tenfold when they are supported by favorable policy frameworks, which place the protection of natural resources, customary land rights, and family farms at the heart of their action.”

Those “favorable policy frameworks” are exactly what African farmers need from their governments as climate change and COVID-19 threaten food security. It is time for African governments to step back from the failing Green Revolution and chart a new food system that respects local cultures and communities by promoting low-cost, low-input ecological agriculture.

Reposted with permission from Common Dreams

Agro-Eco Filipinas ayuda a los agricultores filipinos a realizar la transición a prácticas regenerativas agroecológicas y orgánicas

DAVAO, FILIPINAS – Hace ya un año, Regeneration International (RI) firmó el pacto “Regeneración Filipinas”, un Memorando de Entendimiento entre la Liga Filipina de Municipios, Ciudades y Provincias Orgánicas (LOAMCP) y RI.

Hoy, un año después, tenemos la suerte de haber vuelto a contactar virtualmente con nuestros amigos en Filipinas, esta vez, mediante la incorporación de un nuevo socio de RI, Agro-Eco Filipinas (AEP), una organización que se dedica a “construir comunidades agrícolas resilientes y economías sostenibles”.

AEP comenzó su trabajo con pequeños agricultores en Mindanao en el sur de Filipinas en 1991. Hoy, la organización gubernamental sin fines de lucro (ONG) trabaja con 4.000 agricultores individuales en 300 organizaciones de agricultores en Mindanao, Visayas oriental y Luzón oriental.

Su misión es defender el derecho de los filipinos a una alimentación saludable, mitigar el hambre en las comunidades agrícolas afectadas por la pobreza y capacitar a los agricultores en prácticas orgánicas regenerativas y agroecológicas que les permiten producir alimentos saludables, aumentan el sustento socioeconómico de los agricultores y desarrollan la resiliencia contra los efectos del cambio climático.

AEP también invierte en el desarrollo de mercados locales a través de la investigación liderada por la comunidad para ayudar a aumentar los ingresos de los pequeños agricultores.

En nuestra serie de videos “Caminos de regeneración”, que muestra historias de regeneración en todo el mundo, te presentamos a AEP y su trabajo para apoyar a agricultores filipinos a hacer la transición de prácticas convencionales a prácticas agroecológicas y regenerativas orgánicas.

En nuestro último episodio, “Agro-Eco Filipinas ayuda a los agricultores a ser orgánicos”, el director ejecutivo de AEP, Geonathan Barro, explica cómo la ONG ha capacitado a un número impresionante de agricultores en prácticas orgánicas. Barro nos dijo en una entrevista de Zoom:

“Hasta ahora, hemos capacitado a aproximadamente 10,000 agricultores convencionales para que hagan la transición a prácticas orgánicas. La clave está en aprovechar el arduo trabajo de los años anteriores sin depender de intermediarios o entidades corporativas para distribuir y procesar nuestros productos ”.

AEP cree firmemente que el papel que desempeñan los seres humanos en las granjas es un componente clave de la agroecología. Según su sitio web:

“Los agricultores . . . son actores críticos en la práctica y la transformación agroecológica. Son administradores de la biodiversidad y verdaderos guardianes del conocimiento relevante para esta transición. Por lo tanto, es importante que los conocimientos y tecnologías agroecológicas se desarrollen sobre la base del conocimiento y la experimentación de los agricultores. Además, esto significa que la agroecología tiene que ser específica al contexto y culturalmente apropiada. La agroecología aprovecha al máximo el capital humano, social y ambiental disponible a nivel local”.

 

La Revolución Verde obliga a los agricultores a adoptar un modelo agrícola degenerativo

El futuro no siempre ha sido tan brillante para algunos agricultores de Filipinas.

Desde el lanzamiento de la Revolución Verde en la década de 1960, los agricultores filipinos han dependido en gran medida de modelos agrícolas degenerativos. Estos modelos han obligado a millones de agricultores a endeudarse debido al alto costo de los fertilizantes químicos y pesticidas que, con el tiempo, erosionaron el suelo y contaminaron los cursos de agua.

Hace más de medio siglo, el gobierno filipino, con la influencia de la Fundación Ford y la Fundación Rockefeller, creó el Instituto Internacional de Investigación del Arroz (IRRI). En 1962, el IRRI cruzó las cepas de arroz Dee-Geo-woo-gen y Peta para crear el IR8 o “arroz milagroso”. En 1981, el “arroz milagroso” representaba más del 80 por ciento del total de cultivos de arroz en Filipinas.

El “arroz milagroso” produjo altos rendimientos, diez veces más que las variedades de arroz tradicionales, lo que permitió a Filipinas pasar de ser un importador de arroz a un exportador mundial.

Desafortunadamente, los beneficios de la Revolución Verde fueron de corta duración. También se vieron contrarrestados por el aumento de los costos de las altas deudas, la caída de los ingresos y las consecuencias ambientales de la agricultura intensiva en productos químicos.

Esta cadena de eventos se da en muchos países en desarrollo que fueron víctimas de las grandes corporaciones agrícolas que venden semillas de alto rendimiento que proporcionan cosechas productivas el primer año, pero el año siguiente requieren mayores aumentos en los insumos químicos.

El atractivo de los altos (pero insostenibles) rendimientos de estos cultivos ha llevado a un sistema de agricultores esclavizados cuyas tierras de cultivo se han vuelto improductivas sin la aplicación de insumos sintéticos y químicos.

Con el tiempo, los pesticidas destruyen microbios clave en el suelo y alteran su capacidad para retener nutrientes y agua, lo que hace que los agricultores sean más vulnerables a la sequía, las inundaciones, las plagas y las enfermedades relacionadas con los cultivos. Esto aumenta los costos de producción y pone a los pequeños agricultores en riesgo de quiebra.

Agricultores filipinos haciendo campaña contra el arroz dorado de Monsanto, promoviendo sistemas regenerativos de intensificación del arroz y defendiendo la soberanía local de semillas.

AEP capacita a los agricultores en prácticas regenerativas orgánicas que benefician al medio ambiente y a la comunidad

AEP está trabajando para romper los patrones de los sistemas alimentarios y agrícolas convencionales proporcionando a los pequeños agricultores acceso gratuito a semillas nativas locales e información sobre prácticas como el compostaje, cultivos de cobertura, conservación de semillas, rotación de cultivos e integración del ganado.

También enseña a los agricultores sobre agrosilvicultura, la incorporación de árboles a la agricultura y fomenta el intercambio de conocimientos entre compañeros agricultores.

Las prácticas agroecológicas y regenerativas orgánicas nunca antes habían sido tan importantes. Como en muchos países del mundo, la pandemia de COVID-19 ha provocado escasez de alimentos en Filipinas.

El lado positivo, sin embargo, es que los estantes vacíos de las tiendas han animado a los lugareños a comprar directamente a sus agricultores. Esto no solo ayuda a los pequeños agricultores, sino que también les brinda a las familias alimentos seguros y nutritivos que fortalecen el sistema inmunológico, dijo Barro a RI.

Vender directamente a los consumidores y eliminar las tiendas de comestibles de la ecuación ha permitido a los agricultores filipinos vender sus productos más baratos.

Luz Astronomo, miembro de AEP y pequeño agricultor de la ciudad de Davao, Filipinas, dijo a RI en una entrevista de Zoom que puede vender sus productos por un 60% menos que los otros porque todo lo que necesita para cultivarlos proviene de su granja, incluidas las semillas e insumos orgánicos.

“Por lo tanto, no tenemos que vender nuestros productos a un precio alto”, dijo.

En muchas localidades, los agricultores convencionales ahora compran alimentos de los agricultores orgánicos porque los sistemas de monocultivo de los que dependen no pueden competir con los sistemas agroecológicos diversificados que practican los miembros de la AEP. Barro dijo a RI:

“Estos son tiempos muy difíciles a causa de la COVID-19, pero estos tiempos tan difíciles nos han hecho ver de manera clara qué tipo de agricultura necesita el mundo para superar tales crisis”.

 

La agricultura regenerativa orgánica ayuda a combatir el cambio climático

Además de producir alimentos más saludables, las prácticas agrícolas regenerativas orgánicas  y agroecológicas ayudan a mitigar el cambio climático porque favorecen la salud del suelo y el almacenamiento del exceso de carbono atmosférico en el suelo.

Los agricultores son fundamentales para abordar el cambio climático porque justamente experimentan los impactos de un clima cambiante, dijo Barro.

AEP también reconoce esto, por lo que ahora ofrece un curso sobre gestión de la calidad del suelo para enseñar a los agricultores cómo gestionar mejor el suelo cuando se enfrentan a plagas, enfermedades y climas extremos.

El Sr. René García, también pequeño agricultor y miembro de AEP, dice que las prácticas de agricultura regenerativa ayudan a restaurar microbios clave en el suelo. García nos dijo en una entrevista de Zoom:

 “Estamos practicando la agricultura regenerativa para devolver los microorganismos al suelo que alimenta a las plantas. Lo hacemos mediante el uso de sistemas de intensificación del arroz, que pueden reducir las inundaciones en los arrozales, reducir drásticamente las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero y también pueden ayudar a conservar el agua y aumentar los rendimientos “.

AEP cree que todos los agricultores pueden volverse resilientes a los efectos del cambio climático cuidando su suelo, deshaciéndose de los químicos tóxicos, produciendo y distribuyendo alimentos localmente y practicando y defendiendo sistemas agrícolas orgánicos regenerativos.

“Las historias de éxito de los agricultores que están trabajando para mitigar y adaptarse al cambio climático inspirarán a la gente de todo el mundo”, dijo Barro, y agregó que da a la gente la esperanza de saber que otros se están uniendo para hacer de este mundo un lugar mejor.

Estén atentos para más historias de regeneración tanto en Filipinas como en todo el mundo.

 

Oliver Gardiner representa a Regeneration International en Europa y Asia. Para mantenerse al día con noticias y eventos, regístrese aquí para recibir el boletín de Regeneration International.

 

Revolución agroecológica: cómo cambiar desde la raíz el sistema en el que vivimos

La agricultura ha sido el sustento de la vida y la base para la organización sedentaria que detonó nuestro modo de vida actual. El conocimiento sobre el acto de cultivar así como las técnicas que se han desarrollado a lo largo de la historia se han utilizado con el fin de satisfacer las necesidades de alimentación de una población en constante crecimiento. Sin embargo, esta búsqueda se ha dado en un contexto de separación entre los seres humanos y la naturaleza. En él, el paradigma de dominio sobre la vida transformó la agricultura en una industria más.

La agricultura se define de manera sistémica como el conjunto de procesos destinados a obtener alimentos utilizando los recursos naturales y sociales a los que se tiene acceso. Esta producción-distribución-consumo de alimentos se realiza a través de actividades económicas, culturales, políticas y ambientales de manera organizada. Por ello, entender que la agricultura juega un rol fundamental en estos ejes de la vida social nos sirve para entender los valores que la sustentan y los fines a los que atiende, para, así, poder plantear soluciones que vayan a la raíz del problema.

CONTINUE LEYENDO EN SOPITAS.COM

Waiter, There’s a Problem with My Paradigm!

This article is part of the #CuraDaTerra essay series, focused on Indigenous perspectives and alternatives to industrial capitalism.

Certain humans have plotted for centuries to kill the Amazon.  Photographic evidence confirms that this scheme is now reaching a flaming, thundering crescendo, with tens of thousands of intentional fires and bulldozers tearing through the Amazonian rainforest, destroying acres every second.

We hasten to add that other humans are innocent bystanders, while yet other humans go further and have a plan to save that vast ecosystem.

But we have gotten well ahead of our story; first let’s enjoy a delicious bowl of peach-palm soup. For us, the soup’s richness dominates the culinary experience.  In both aroma and color there is a suggestion of squash, but that hint of sweet flavor is secondary to the dense, opulent texture that coats one’s mouth like whipped butter.

Or when we’re ravenous and need survival calories, we just stew the fruits in salted water, peel them, and eat what seems like the world’s finest roasted chestnut.

KEEP READING ON KOSMOS JOURNAL

Seeds of Change in Times of Crisis

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations in the U.S. and Latin America that save, produce and sell seeds have seen a significant increase in the demand for native seeds. This new interest in seeds comes with great opportunities, but also some challenges.

Motivated to learn more about this phenomenon, Valeria García López, a researcher in agroecology in Colombia and Mexico, and David Greenwood-Sánchez, a political scientist specializing in GMO regulation in Latin America, set out to do some research.

Both López and Greenwood-Sánchez are independent researchers who in recent years have been part of different movements in defense of seeds in Latin America and the U.S. Both believe that this new interest in seeds, in the context of the current economic, food and health crisis, highlights the challenges local seed systems are facing in a post-pandemic scenario.

We recently spoke with López and Greenwood-Sánchez to learn more about their work, their love for seeds and biocultural diversity, as well as the motivations for their research.

Seeds and biocultural diversity: a love story

Greenwood-Sánchez is a native of Minnesota but his mother is Peruvian. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy. During his studies, he had to do an internship and decided to do it in Peru, looking for his roots.

Over the course of his research, Greenwood-Sánchez found out that Cusco, a city in the Peruvian Andes, had declared itself a GMO-free region, thanks to a push by potato growers and the existing moratorium on GMOs in Peru. Curious to know more, Greenwood-Sánchez ended up doing an internship at the Parque de la Papa (Potatoe’s Park), an association of five indigenous communities that manages more than 1000 varieties of potatoes and works on issues related to biodiversity, intellectual property and biocultural records. There, he discovered agrobiodiversity and its link to culture and traditions, and how people can promote agrobiodiversity through their culture and day-to-day life. He then decided to pursue a Doctorate in Public Policy at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

David Greenwood-Sánchez planting potatoes in Minnesota

Greenwood-Sánchez’s research has focused on the construction of systems that regulate GMOs in Latin America, using Mexico and Peru as case studies. In Mexico, certain GM crops can be planted, while in Peru, there is a moratorium on GMOs. His research focuses on the different groups that come together for the defense of biodiversity, on how the state, society and global markets join their efforts to demand policies that regulate the use of GMOs. This is closely related to the identity of each country, its people and how that identity is connected to their biodiversity, for example corn in Mexico, or potatoes in Peru.

García López is Colombian, but has been living in Mexico for five years. For the past six years she’s worked with networks of seed keepers, mainly in Antioquia, where she is originally from. She studied biology and then did her internship on agrobiodiversity and orchards in southern Colombia, near the border with Ecuador. There she discovered the wonders of agrobiodiversity. Being in love with the High Andean region, she went to Ecuador, where she did a Master’s Degree in conservation of the páramo ecosystem and its relationship with climate change.

Back in Colombia, García López discovered the Colombian Free Seeds Network (RSLC). But in Antioquia, her native region, there was no local seed network, so she and other people were assigned to work to create a division of the network RSLC. Since the end of 2014, she worked to support the creation of community seed houses that would represent the first steps to create a Participatory Seed Guarantee System (GSP). That system would allow a certification of agroecological seeds under criteria internally established by the territories themselves, by indigenous and small farmers’ organizations—not by external entities, whether private or public.

This process has also allowed for progress toward the declaration of GMO-free territories. By taking advantage of protected indigenous reserves, which are exempt from complying with the Free Treaties Trade, García López and others were able to ban GMOs from the indigenouse reserves, and create a program to promote the conservation of native seeds.

García López recently completed her PhD in Ecology and Rural Development at the Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR), Mexico. The topic of her research was how seed guardian networks use different strategies to defend seeds. She studied cases both in Mexico and Colombia after observing that in both countries, the defense of native and creole seeds has intensified and how seed networks have come together to face threats. In fact, seed initiatives that had already existed but worked in isolation are now joining forces around a common goal.

Valeria García López holding a huge and beautiful squash she just harvested.

COVID-19 as catalyst for the agroecological movement

The pandemic of 2020 has exposed the fragility of the conventional food system, with its agribusiness corporations and long supply chains. Food supply problems, especially in urban centers, as well as an increase in prices and speculation have only been symptoms of this fragility.

Today, it is the small farmers who in many places keep local supplies going. In Brazil, for example, farmers from the Landless Workers Movement (MST for its Portuguese acronym) are donating food to people living in the cities. Organized movements in the countryside are mobilizing a lot of food, showing the capacity of alternative movements to respond.

The relationship between food and health is another topic spotlighted by the pandemic. People with chronic diseases linked to bad eating habits—diseases such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension and high cholesterol caused by bad eating habits—are more vulnerable to the virus. In fact, the strength or weakness of the immune system is greatly determined by our diet.

Hippocrates, father of modern medicine, said it more than 2,500 years ago: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” This is why many people today are paying more attention to the food on their plates, its origin, how it was cultivated. People are more interested than ever in healthy eating, planting and having home gardens, and buying local food directly from the producers.

The pandemic has been shown the need to promote local agro-ecological food systems, which have proven to be more resilient than agribusiness systems. In this context, local and resilient seed systems become especially relevant, as they are the foundation upon which food sovereignty is built.

Pandemic times: Panic or hope? Looking for the seeds of change

García López and Greenwood-Sánchez are motivated to show there is hope despite the current global health and economic crisis. They decided to look beyond the mass media’s panic-inducing narrative about food insecurity, and investigate for themselves what was happening with producers. In particular, they wanted to know more about the initiatives related to the defense, reproduction, exchange and commercialization of native seeds, with the aim of learning and preserving traditional knowledge and practices in times where resilient and regenerative systems are much needed.

 To carry on their research, they followed up on the news, and they conducted a series of surveys and personal interviews (though not face-to-face, to comply with current social distancing). More than 25 initiatives from six countries in the Americas participated in the research: U.S., Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Argentina and Peru. Medium-sized and family owned companies and individual, community, rural and urban initiatives gave their insights.

Here are some of the conclusions they drew from their research:

  • People are going back to appreciating what’s essential, the common goods, what sustains life. The crisis highlights the need to know where our food comes from, the importance of soil, water, and food justice.
  • More people are realizing the importance of growing their own food. Many people and organizations are now more aware of the importance of growing food for self-consumption. Many are starting their own gardens for the first time.
  • There’s a greater appreciation for the work seedkeepers do. The pandemic has generated greater awareness regarding the importance of food and farmers, as well as the role of seedkeepers who have preserved agrobiodiversity in a traditional way and who also have the knowledge on how to cultivate and care for seeds.
  • There’s renewed interest in seeds and food exchanges. Many traditional practices from indigenous people, such as Ayni in the Andean region, are becoming even more valuable today and inspire new forms of collaboration through networks of trust, support and solidarity.
  • People are realizing the need to be more creative to meet the rising demand for seeds. Many seed initiatives and ventures have been overwhelmed by the growing demand, exceeding their capacity to respond, and have had to creatively restructure their work in order to cope with the explosion of orders.

Collective planting. Photograph by Valeria García López.

 Who is behind the growing demand for seeds?

García López and Greenwood-Sánchez have found that it is not so much the institutions, companies or the government but the people and the communities who have been organizing themselves to acquire seeds and plant them. People are very interested in finding solutions and helping other people, out of pure solidarity.

Greenwood-Sánchez mentions, for example, an initiative that he promoted together with a group of friends, which today brings together about 700 people. The “Twin Cities Front Yard Organic Gardeners Club” encourages people to grow food on their front yard. Traditionally, in U.S. cities, people would have their vegetable gardens in the backyard, a custom that was especially adopted after the Second World War (Victory Gardens). In general, in the front yard there is just grass. But this is changing with the growing movement to replace grass with food. 

Front yard being turned into a vegetable garden. Photo by David Greenwood-Sánchez

Another example in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where Greenwood-Sánchez lives, is the “Outplant the Outbreak” campaign, which consists of making seed packets and putting them inside boxes where books are normally put, for public use and for free.

Envelopes with seeds for free. Photo by David Greenwood-Sánchez

In Peru, the government has started a campaign called “Hay que papear” to address the crisis by promoting potato consumption, as a complete, nutritious and cheap local food, and also to counter the general tendency to devalue this crop and to make its producers more invisible.

With growing interest come new challenges

While interest in seeds and growing food has spiked during the pandemic, the uptick in  interest has revealed new challenges. As part of their research, García López and Greenwood-Sánchez identified some of these challenges and potential solutions, including:

  • The greater demand for open-pollinated seeds requires a necessary increase in supply, which poses challenges in the organizational, technical, training, economic and legislative areas. Structural changes are needed to facilitate the growth and development of this sector.
  • Current seed laws and international treaties favor transnational seed companies and the promotion of GMOs. These laws threaten local seed systems, which are the basis of food sovereignty. Some examples are UPOV 91, the Seed Production, Certification and Commercialization Law or the Reforms to the Federal Law of Plant Varieties, in Mexico. To strengthen people’s food sovereignty, the first step should be to curb these treaties and laws and promote those that strengthen local seed systems, which have proven to be much more resilient against supply chain outages and the climate crisis. Fortunately, the greater awareness of the importance of agriculture and food, as well as the greater interest in growing your own food, is also bringing to the table the importance of these seed laws and treaties.
  • There need to be efforts to create public policies and laws that stimulate and strengthen local seed systems, including structural reforms at the market level to allow commercialization and seed exchange initiatives that cannot be subject to the same certification criteria as large transnational corporations.
  • One of the main arguments against the creation of seed laws that regulate and control the production of native and creole seeds is that the production of these seeds is not stable, unique or homogeneous. The main value of native and creole open-pollinated seeds is their genetic diversity, which gives them enormous capacity to respond and adapt to new geographic and climatic conditions. In Colombia, over a period of three years, several workshops and forums were held at the local and national level in order to identify the most important principles for seed guardians. The Participatory Guarantee Systems (SPG) has put together its own criteria, based on seven principles. It should be noted that one of the criteria of the Network of Free Seeds of Colombia regarding the sale of seeds specifies that in fact seeds themselves are not sold. What is sold is all the work behind the seeds, and what makes their existence possible. This is great progress, since it recognizes seeds as a common good which cannot be commercialized.
  • It is necessary to promote and protect the autonomy of the communities that have been practicing agriculture and that have cared for, selected and multiplied seeds for thousands of years. They do not need external validation, because these are practices that they have done for a long time. The challenge, rather than imposing external rules, is to ask ourselves how we can support them, how we can be useful for their work to prosper.
  • As more and more people start to grow their own food for the first time, it is essential to generate and promote educational spaces or gardens where these people can learn how to plant and maintain their gardens. It is important to understand the seeds should be planted, not saved and accumulated. Using them, multiplying them, exchanging them, donating them is the way to go.

 Next steps

Once García López and Greenwood-Sánchez complete the analysis of their research, they will share the results with all those who participated. They will also create a report, using plain language so it is suitable for the general public, to highlight the challenges that local seed systems face with this growing interest for native and native seeds.

Would you like to know more about the work Valeria and David do?

Write them a message: vagarcialopez@gmail.com, davidgreenwoodsanchez@gmail.com

Claudia Flisfisch Cortés is an agroecology specialist who is part of the commission of seeds and the articulating commission of RIHE (Chilean Network of Educational Gardens).To keep up with Regeneration International news, sign up for our newsletter.

Events

Nothing Found

Sorry, no posts matched your criteria