Home | About | Donate

Only Agroecology Can Tackle the Global Food and Health Crisis


Only Agroecology Can Tackle the Global Food and Health Crisis

Julia Wright

The current global food crisis is simple and complex at the same time.

Simple because all we need is sufficient, healthy food to eat and to share, for our medicine and to commune with nature, simple because it's technically possible to have an abundance of healthy food.

Yet we have made it a complex issue. We overeat, we don't have enough to eat, we sell and buy cheap 'food like substances' whilst watching the rich and famous - who we aspire to - choosing not to eat these foods.


Lester Brown has been writing about food security and the dangers to agriculture from factory farming for 50 years.

Here is an article about his work. The article points out that he has often been 10 years ahead of others in describing these issues. The title says a lot about what can happen.

Lester Brown: 'Vast dust bowls threaten tens of millions with hunger’
Over his 50-year career, Lester Brown has become known for his accurate global environmental predictions. As he enters retirement, he warns the world may face the worst hunger crisis of our lifetimes

The article is in the Guardian. Someone else can put in a link. I had to re register and am considered a new user so am unable to put a link in a comment.


CD has posted on this article - you must have written just before it was posted …


Agroecology is a word that needs to be be tattooed, engraved, and inserted into our conversations and consciousness every which way possible. Industrial agriculture has no defense against this word and the attiutude toward life it encapsulates. Agroecology holds promise like nothing else of taking our food back and with it our health and wellbeing from the technology cabal that sees nature as something to be subdued and modified rather than understood from a position of humility, you know, as if we actually have something to learn from nature.

ps: My hat’s off to Julia Wright for managing to write this article without once using the world sustainable, a word that has now begun to mean its opposite.


Western mercantilism continues to ignore the lessons aggregating since the Irish potato famine and before. From the ancestral Andean culture of cultivating hundreds of constantly adapting types of potatoes, the colonizers took one, maybe a few types, monocultured them and created a genocide. This from the peoples, dehumanized by the Doctrine of Discovery (still present in US law) and claimed to ‘be without souls’, needing to be converted to the domination ‘assimilation’ (sound like advertising today?).

There are universities in the global south that have been working to bring indigenous and local traditional populations’ practices not only into the science, but into human rights contexts. This because the industrial model has historically taken lands, by massacre, enslavement and other nefarious means - most recently by sheer scale of what are proving to be documented as legislatively and socially parasitic transnationals.
When a system is based on exclusion of the diversity evolved over billions of years, for a form of narcissism sustained only through extractive dint of force - that is what we end up with: degradation that we must work to document and expose and that is best done by becoming informed about and supporting the indigenous peoples and local communities.
This is not just about static possession of knowledge as propounded by western dominance structures. No real knowledge is static, it is social and relational, of the human spirit and highly integrated and adaptable. I would submit that this awareness is one of the inherent lights of the Occupy movement.


Kudos on your PS - thanks for noting that


TODAY: Opening of the first International Forum on Agroecology hosted by Confederation of Peasants Organizations of Mali (CNOP) and La Via Campesina, at the Nyéléni Center in Sélingué, south Mali.


Odd that animal agriculture is hardly mentioned, except for the bizarrely named practice of “mob-grazing.”


Furthermore, with respect to lessons and knowledge of days gone by, I would submit that western mercantilism actively and purposefully suppresses them. Novel technologies generate profits regardless of their holistic value, which is all too often negative. Patent gaming is but one example. Our ancestors would be shocked to discover how their common knowledge had been eviscerated. Yet another manner in which the commons have been plundered.


Disappointed to see debunked “mob grazing” still being advocated. I’d like to post a link, but the new system doesn’t allow new users to post a link. www


What’s odd is that CD was fooled into publishing this very basic essay which seemed by the end to be a way to sneak Allan Savory’s theories in without using the name. I and many others remain highly dubious about the value of Savory’s ideas, which have been called the “Donut Diet”–a diet claim that’s too good to be true.



I appreciate Dr. Wright’s bringing up the topic of agroecology here but we need more than such basic ideas and such (probably) wrong-headed ideas as Savory’s, spread more among the meat-addicted, easy-answer-seeking US public.

What will work to feed most of humanity in an ecological way is networked local low-meat perennial plant-based organic permaculture. What will work for the vast majority of people on Earth, while avoiding climate catastrophe of unimaginable proportions, is a plant-centered diet, with meat as a supplement once every month or once every season. Some very few people will live where more meat is ecologically appropriate, and a tiny number may need more because of health conditions. Neither of those changes the fact that the diet of the future–if we expect to have one–is a plant-centered diet.


Traditional ecoagriculture or agroecology still produce more than half of the food on Earth, maybe as much as 70%. The inefficiency of disturbed culture is pointed to as if poor people are backwards and stupid. Very little education about real local history, including women, self sheltering, fly catcher compost sanitation, rainwater storage … a better world is waiting to happen. It will be a world of gently declining population and economic intensity per capita. Earth will recover former bounty to freely give less people.