Agroecology: Food For The Future

The Green Revolution failed to ensure safe and abundant food production for all people. As the expansion of agroexports, transgenic and biofuel monocultures continues to unfold, hunger affects about one billion people on the planet. Seventy eight percent of all malnourished children who live in the developing world are in countries with food surpluses.

There is already an abundant supply of food even while hunger grows worldwide.

Humanity needs an alternative agricultural development paradigm, one that encourages more ecologically, biodiverse, resilient, sustainable and socially just forms of agriculture.

The basis for a new paradigm is the diversity of new ecologically based agricultural systems developed by about 1.5 billion smallholders, family farmers and indigenous people on 350 million small farms across the world. These account for 50% of the global agricultural output for domestic consumption, but only on 20% of the arable land. This recognition has allowed for the concepts of food sovereignty and agroecology-based agricultural production to gain increasing attention.

New approaches and technologies involving the application of blended agroecological science and indigenous knowledge systems are being spearheaded by a significant number of small scale farmers, NGOs and some government and academic institutions. They are found to enhance food security while conserving natural resources, and empowering local, regional and national small scale farmers organisations and movements.

An assessment of various agroecological initiatives around the world reveals that the agroecological paradigm can bring significant environmental, economic and political benefits to small farmers and rural communities as well as urban populations.

Learning outcomes

  • Knowledge about the principles of agroecology and their application for the design of biodiverse, productive and resilient farms

  • Understanding of the principles that underlie successful agroecological initiatives that promote food sovereignty

  • How agroecology can be used to promote socio-political change of the dominant food systems

This course will appeal to students, researchers, farmers and public in general interested in food justice and alternative agricultural production systems.


Miguel A . Altieri

Miguel A . Altieri received a BS in Agronomy from the University of Chile and a Ph.D in Entomology from the University of Florida. He has been a Professor of Agroecology at UC Berkeley since 1981 in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management.

Dr. Altieri served as a Scientific Advisor to the Latin American Consortium on Agroecology and Development Chile an NGO network promoting agroecology as a strategy for small farm sustainable development in the region. He also served for 4 years as the General Coordinator for the United Nations Development Programme’s Sustainable Agriculture Networking and Extension Programme which aimed at capacity building on agroecology among NGOs and the scaling-up of successful local sustainable agricultural initiatives in Africa, Latin America and Asia. In addition he was the chairman of the NGO committee of the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research whose mission was to make sure thar the research agenda of the 15 International Agricultural Research Centers benefited the poor farmers of the. Currently he is advisor to the FAO-GIAHS program – (Globally Ingenious Agricultural Heritage Systems) a program devoted at identifying and dynamically conserving traditional farming systems in the developing world. He was for 6 years President of the Latin American Scientific Society of Agroecology). He is the author of more than 250 publications, and numerous books including Agroecology: The Science of Sustainable Agriculture and Biodiversity, Pest Management in Agroecosystems and Agroecology and the Search for a Truly Sustainable Agriculture .

Clara Nicholls

Clara Inés Nicholls is a Colombian agronomist with a Masters degree on entomology from Chapingo School of Graduate Studies in Mexico and a PhD on biological pest control from the University of California at Davis. Her research centers on the development of biodiverse groecosystems that sponsor biological control of pest populations. She has also worked extensively in Latin America promoting agroecologically-based approaches to agricultural sustainability. She is a lecturer at UC Berkeley’s Latin American Studies Teaching Program where she teaches Perspectives for Sustainable Rural Development in Latin America. She also teaches at Santa Clara University, and various universities in Brasil, Spain and Italy. She is the coordinator of the Latin American doctoral program on agroecology and sustainable rural development co-sponsored by the Universidad de Antioquia (Medellin, Colombia) and the Sociedad Cientifica Latinoamericana de Agroecologia. She is the author of numerous scientific articles on biological control and pest management, including the books Biodiversity and Pest Management in Agroecosystems and Managing Insects on your Farm: Ecological Guidelines

Fee: £ 795.00

Reserve your spot for only £150.00 deposit. For more information please see our terms & conditions. Course fees include accommodation, food, field trips, materials and all teaching sessions. This course will be delivered as part of our Elmhirst programme at Dartington Hall.

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