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Why Hunger Calls for Support of Agroecology and Peasant-Led Solutions


Why Hunger Calls for Support of Agroecology and Peasant-Led Solutions

Danielle Nierenberg

Farmers in the twenty-first century are harnessing both scientific and traditional knowledge to create solutions to the problems they face every day. WhyHunger, a nonprofit organization that harnesses grassroots action to combat poverty and hunger, recently released a new report, “Agroecology: Putting Food Sovereignty into Action,” describing the potential of agroecological solutions through community perspectives.


Peasants? Peasants!?!?! What a demeaning word. I am the grandson of a hardscrabble, near subsistence level farmer in Mississippi and the great-grandson of a sharecropper. Both men would have bristled at being called peasants. They were honorable men, men living lives of their own choosing, and answering to no one but themselves and God. Sure, my great-grandfather owed part of his crops each year to the landowner in lieu of rents. But he owed the landlord no other fealty.

The farmers discussed I'm this article may be poor and in dire straits. But unless they are in thrall or servitude to another, let's give them the dignity of being known as men and women rather than "peasants".


And another thing. Is Chavannes Jean-Baptiste a “peasant”? How about Janaina Stronzake or Dena Hoff? Or are these merely talking heads from more developed countries who have been imported to tell tell the peasants (who are obviously stupid, or else they wouldn’t be peasants) what they should think and do? This smells to me of patronization and condescension of the worst sort.


Dena Hoff is the US representative to La Via Campesina, known as the international peasant movement.

i know peasant can have “bad” connotations in English, but the people involved in these efforts who call themselves “peasants” are proud of who they are.


I would hope a wonderful article about the new future way forward, where science and old school meet, is not hung up on semantics. I think we should remember " you can call me anything, just don’t call late for dinner " is especially true for a new way forward in farming. And, yes it calls for hard work but it’s a good tired. So there’s that, too.


This is no more a “peasant” led solution than I’m the man in the moon. This is a bunch of Western activists going in to tell a bunch of hard working illiterate farmers what they ought to be thinking. Get the Western activists out of there and tell the farmers you can double their yield on the same land with less pesticide and herbicide application, and I bet they opt for the GMO crop every time. They need the extra product to sell.