SFYN Podcast: Exploring Agroecology by Mélanie Antin

Agroecology is considered as the ecology of food systems. It has been fervently deployed in different countries of the global South, in opposition to the policies of the Green Revolution and is being developed and spread by a wide network of academic researchers, activists and NGOs.

For the social organizations that defend it, agroecology represents not only a viable economic alternative, but it also means a revaluation of their knowledge and practices (agronomic, cultural, spiritual, etc). Moreover, it can be used as a tool for social protest and the defence of rural territories and their associated rights.

In the SFYN Podcast episode “Terra Madre ecosystems: agroecology, identity & resistance” you will listen to three speakers, with different agroecological perspectives, from different parts of the world.

Our first guest on the podcast is Helda Morales, Biologist researcher in El Colegio de la Frontera in Chiapas Mexico.

She conducted an experiment with school gardens and documented how it can impact children and their professors on the way they perceive their food. Children and professors had to interview elders in the rural communities, as well as the students’ parents, for insights on traditional growing methods. It contributed to reevaluating elders’ knowledge. The kids also re-discovered old traditional food, like pozole, a fermented corn drink, depreciated for a long time. In 2019, Helda and her husband, partnered with Antropo Film House produced a full-length documentary, “Al alcance de la mano” (Within our reach), featuring the School Garden Network. Al alcance de la mano. (Within our reach) on Vimeo ; about the school garden: https://redhuertos.org/Labvida/

Helda is passionate about the milpa system and diet, and especially about protecting native corn. As part of her work, she has written various scientific articles. Recently, she has co-published an article analyzing the power relationships in the food system: heteropatriarchy, capitalism and colonialism, insisting on the necessity to tackle these issues in agroecological movements to transcend inequalities in territories.

And as Helda says, without feminism, there is no agroecology.

Our second guest is Edie Mukiibi, agronomist, President of Slow Food Uganda and vice-president of Slow Food International.

Edie also works with a project of school and community gardens using agroecological methods. He wants to show people that gardening is not a punishment, as it is usually communicated at schools in Uganda. Edie also encourages people to preserve local seeds and diets, such as varieties of millet (one of the Uganda Presidia). With him, we will also talk about coloniality in the  food system and how agroecology can be a solution to Uganda’s food sovereignty and helps the country and other African countries to be less dependent on exports and international policies.  

To make a bridge with agroecological movements in Europe, we will finally listen to Paola Migliorini.

She is a professor of agronomy at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy and vice-president of Agroecology Europe. She will develop her position on agroecology in Europe and will explain to us how agroecology is not just about organic farming but goes beyond it.

To complete this podcast episode, we suggest you listen to this special interview of Viviana from ANAMURI, a rural women association in Chile fighting for women’s rights, the preservation of natural resources, access to land, and for the defense of the Mapuche cultural heritage. You can find her interview on the SFYN Patreon page.

We hope you will enjoy it and learn a lot from our guests about agroecology and their passion for sustainable food systems!

Image credits: [1] ANAMURI, [2&3] Melanie Antin

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