A grassroots science
Growing food ecologically through the practice of agroecology is knowledge-intensive. It requires a lot of careful observation, experimentation and creative problem solving on the farmers’ part.
In industrial agriculture, the development of knowledge tends to follow a “top-down” delivery model, where institutions and agronomists conduct research, then teach farmers new methods to use in their fields.
In contrast, agroecology sees farmers’ knowledge of their local ecosystems and crops as a starting place, and builds on it with the scientific method: observation, making a hypothesis, testing it, then learning from the results.
We support this in our programs by supporting farmer-led experimentation in the field, farmer-to-farmer learning exchanges and collaboration between farmers and academic researchers. We also support community initiatives that give farmers the tools they need to grow good food ecologically and to make a better income, like community seed banks or micro-entreprises.