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Agroecology or Collapse Part III – Reclaiming the ‘archaic’, ‘anarchic’, and ‘utopian’ as the language of food system transformation

Food distribution in Rio de Janeiro during the pandemic. Source: AS-PTA.

Agroecology or Collapse Part III – Reclaiming the ‘archaic’, ‘anarchic’, and ‘utopian’ as the language of food system transformation

Agroecology is a struggle to overcome industrial agriculture and is simultaneously a practice, a science, and a movement. Detractors often criticize Agroecology saying it is archaic, anarchic, & utopian. Perhaps, paradoxically, this is where its potential lies. 

Agroecology is archaic, anarchic, and utopian – of course it is and thank goodness! In the final post of this three-part series, Paulo Petersen and Denis Monteiro push back against the arguments often made against agroecology. They engage with the language used to critique agroecology, and reverse it to articulate these as critical resources for social transformation. They go on to present the case for agroecology as the alternative model to prevent the looming collapse focusing on the Brazilian situation as a case in point. Click through to read Part I and part II. Earlier versions of this pieces were previously published in Portuguese.


Agroecology has been defined based on three interdependent dimensions: as a practice, as a scientific approach and as a social movement. As a social practice, it is expressed in the various ways in which peasant family farming and indigenous and traditional peoples and communities organize their work for the diversified production of food and other agricultural products. This is accomplished through cooperative processes developed in close interaction with ecological and socio-cultural dynamics of the territories in which they take root. By using systemic and participatory approaches, agroecology articulates frontier knowledge based on different scientific disciplines combined with popular biocultural knowledge.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Agroecology or Collapse: Part 1 – From Emergency Responses to Systemic Transformations

Annual demonstrations in defense of women’s lives and agroecology in the territory of Borborema. Foto: Nilton Pereira/AS-PTA

Agroecology or Collapse: Part 1 – From Emergency Responses to Systemic Transformations

In this first of a three-part contribution to Agroecology Now, Paulo Petersen and Denis Monteiro present the current moment as a crisis in capitalism that demands systemic and structural responses based in solidarity and feminist economics. This lays the foundations for agroecology as a new organizing paradigm for food systems that holds the key to preventing the collapse of our living systems as we know them. Earlier versions of these pieces were previously published in Portuguese. Part II available here.

As we try to reimagine our world, we must look at the countryside. There we can find a cooperative and sustainable production system based on peasant agriculture. Underestimated, even by orthodox Marxism, it is being rediscovered. Recognized and reinforced by the agroecological perspective, the peasantry  will be one of the foundations for post-capitalism. Based on the Brazilian experience, the political meaning of this proposal is presented in this historic moment of extreme gravity marked by the sudden deepening of pre-existing crises triggered by the spread of the coronavirus

The need for a systemic perspective

The growing number of ecological, health, economic and social crises situations are compounding and are based in an exceptionally complex political reality that demand a systemic and holistic perspective. Yet, governments and public policy around the world are plagued by sectoral approaches. These need to be overcome if we can respond to this crisis in a way that dismantles the vicious regressive circles that make the causes seem like the effects, and vice versa.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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