Growing Agroecology Research

The Union of Concerned Scientists is calling upon agriculture and health scientists to sign on to a statement demanding increased public investment in agroecological research.

Former U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Olivier de Schutter describes the need for such research in the video above.

The letter, reported on by Food First’s Eric Holt Gimenez here, reads in part,

Agroecology regards farms as ecosystems embedded in broader landscapes and society. Agroecological approaches are based on understanding and managing ecological processes and biological functions to increase and sustain crop and livestock productivity, efficiently recycle inputs, and build soil fertility, while minimizing harmful impacts on soil, air, water, wildlife, and human health…

While other approaches may also yield promising solutions, they are more likely to already benefit from private sector support. Agroecology is less likely to be supported by the private sector since these farming methods often reduce requirements for purchased inputs. This leaves to the public sector the responsibility to fund agroecological research that serves the interests of farmers and society.

At the Union’s prompting, I added to my signature,

Industrial husbandry, suffering diseconomies of scale, is selecting for multiple protopandemic pathogens. Socialized agroecology is our best shot at restraining transmission and virulence by resetting the context out of which pathogens emerge.

I ask those of you researchers whose work addresses food and health issues please consider adding your name to the UCS letter. The link to do so can be found at the top of the statement.

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