Agroecology critical to transformation of food systems

Ensuring the sustainability, security, and equity of our food systems is one of the most defining issues of our time. The predominant industrial food system is too dependent on fossil fuels and non-renewable inputs that result in pollution and environmental damage. Transformative change is needed. Around the world myriad people and organizations are working toward sustainable food systems and seeking transformative change.“Beacons of Hope: Accelerating Transformations to Sustainable Food Systems” is a new publication aimed at amplifying the power and potential of transforming food systems to address critical global issues such as climate change, biodiversity, equity, and health. It features 21 Beacons of Hope; stories from an extensive network of people and initiatives building sustainable food systems, which provide inspiring evidence that transformation is possible.
Climate change is called out as the predominant overriding challenge facing agriculture. Food systems can be a key driver of climate mitigation and adaptation strategies. A majority of Beacons of Hope places agroecology at the core of their vision and transformation pathway. They articulate a range of ways by which agroecological approaches increase food systems resilience, and uphold the broad benefits of agroecological activities and holistic approaches, such as yields, livelihoods, ecological restoration, food security, and community well-being.
The following approaches were found to be at the heart of transformation processes: protecting, promoting, and supporting family farmers and Indigenous communities producing food using agroecological and diversified approaches and principles; co–creation of knowledge, and knowledge exchange and dissemination; developing cooperative ownership models; emphasizing ideas of circular and solidarity economy; reinforcing the importance of culturally relevant and place-specific sustainable diets; establishing participatory approaches and inclusive governance; identifying new market mechanisms; and adopting new metrics.
We reproduce below the Key Messages and Conclusions and Recommendations of the report. The publishers have also developed a Food Systems Transformation Toolkit that includes the Food Systems Transformation Framework and a Discussion Guide. This can be downloaded from:
– Third World Network