Agroecology: Innovating from the ground up

October 24, 2019

Through our Seeds of Survival program, SeedChange supports farmers and communities to find innovative solutions and processes that reflect and respect diverse knowledge systems. Farmer-led research can find innovative solutions to problems like soil fertility, water access, plant and animal health, seed security, and sustainable livelihoods.

These innovations fit within the framework of agroecology, a holistic approach to food production that works with natural systems, empowers women, provides nutritious food for families, protects agricultural biodiversity and the environment, and builds community. We work with more than 35,000 farmers around the world to help them bring agroecological innovations to fruition.

Innovation in agriculture contributes to food security and nutrition, economic development, and sustainable natural resource management. Innovations ought to be both technical and social, and should therefore recognize and integrate social, cultural, and economic factors in the innovation process. It is increasingly acknowledged that if innovations are not sensitive to local needs, they become techno-fixes and can do more harm than good to local communities by providing false solutions that do not take local circumstances into account (see IPES-FOOD 2016). For example, techno-fixes in agriculture often emphasize chemical-intensive, monocultures that are dependent on external inputs, which can threaten local biodiversity, reduce household food security and increase vulnerability to climate change hazards.

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Photo: Nellys Rivera, Enriqueta Mancia, Aida Alvarado, Victoria Aguirre, Alma Iris Domínguez