Organization and process social in bringing agroecology to scale
AGROECOLOGY FOR FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION PROCEEDINGS OF THE
FAO INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM
18-19 September 2014, Rome, Italy
Numerous scientific studies and empirical experiences around the world have shown that peasant and family farm-based agroecological approaches are superior to industrial agriculture in terms of: production of healthy food for local populations (food sovereignty), enhancement of rural livelihoods and cultures, resilience to climate change and other shocks, fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, lower production
costs, stewardship of productive resources and rural biodiversity (‘Mother Earth’), relative autonomy and lower external dependence for farming families, etc. Yet the challenge remains of how to bring agroecology to scale, so that it is practised by ever more families, over ever larger territories.
The experience of rural social movements, and farmer and peasant organizations, indicates that the degreeof organization (called ‘organicity’ by social movements), and the extent to which horizontal social methodologies based on peasant and farmer protagonism are employed to collectively construct social processes, are key factors in ‘massifying’ and bringing agroecology to scale.
Campesino-a-campesino (‘farmer-to-farmer’) processes and peasant agroecology schools run by peasant organizations themselves are useful examples of these principles. While most agroecology research to date has emphasized natural science, the results presented in this chapter point to the need to prioritize social science
approaches and self-study by rural movements, to draw systematic lessons from their successful experiences. This can produce the information and principles needed to design new collective processes. These points are illustrated with reference to emblematic cases selected from the experience of La Via Campesina (LVC), arguably the world’s largest social movement, and a key venue for expanding agroecological
experience through its global, regional and national agrocology and peasant