Our Publications

Our Publications

Reclaiming Diversity and Citizenship Series

The Reclaiming Diversity and Citizenship Series seeks to encourage debate outside mainstream policy and conceptual frameworks on the future of food, farming, land use and human well-being. The opportunities and constraints to regenerating local food systems and economies based on social and ecological diversity, justice, human rights, inclusive democracy, and active forms of citizenship are explored in this Series. Contributors to the Reclaiming Diversity and Citizenship Series are encouraged to reflect deeply on their ways of working and outcomes of their research, highlighting implications for policy, knowledge, organisations, and practice. The Reclaiming Diversity and Citizenship Series was published by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) between 2006 and 2013. The Series is now published by the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, at Coventry University. Professor Michel Pimbert is the coordinator and editor of the Reclaiming Diversity and Citizenship Series.

People's Knowledge and Participatory Knowledge: Escaping the white-walled Labyrinth

The world of research run by universities and other institutions is dominated by a culture that is white, upper-middle class and male. When people from communities that have previously been excluded are asked to take part in research – even participative research -- they are seldom able to do so on equal terms. Instead of being supported to draw on the expertise that they have gained from their life experience, they find themselves trapped in a ‘white-walled labyrinth’.

The Milk Crisis in India: The Story Behind The Numbers

Building on research in the Indian States of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, the Food Sovereignty Alliance (FSA) shows how this crisis extends well beyond the small farmers of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh State in South India. It affects  small farmers nationally as well as globally. This book tells the story of how global trends including the onging threats of multilateral trade agreements such as the EU-India Free Trade Agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Pact (RCEP), are driving countless small dairy farmers into debt and ultimately out of farming. It calls for a solution, based on nurturing the resilience of the small, localised networks of milk producers, cooperatives and consumers.

Everyday Experts: Full Book

Everyday Experts explains how knowledge built up through first-hand experience can help solve the crisis in the food system. It brings together fifty-seven activists, farmers, practitioners, researchers and community organisers from around the world in 28 original chapters to take a critical look at attempts to improve the dialogue between people whose knowledge has been marginalised in the past and others who are recognised as professional experts. 

Using a combination of stories, poems, photos and videos, the contributors demonstrate how people’s knowledge can transform the food system towards greater social and environmental justice. Many of the chapters also explore the challenges of using action and participatory approaches to research.

The chapters share new insights, analysis and stories that can expand our imagination of a future that encompasses:

  • making dialogue among people with different ways of understanding the world central to all decision-making
  • the re-af rmation of Indigenous, local, traditional and other knowledge systems
  • a blurring of the divide between professional expertise and expertise that is derived from experience
  • transformed relationships amongst ourselves and with the Earth to confront inequality and the environmental crisis

Shifting from Industrial Agriculture to Diversified Agroecological Systems in China

In 2016, the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) published a report entitled From Uniformity to Diversity: a paradigm shift from industrial agriculture to diversified agroecological systems. This report provided a systematic review of existing studies of industrial and ecological systems of agriculture in the global context and offered constructive suggestions to facilitate the shift towards an agroecological system. Yet, its analysis is largely built upon general agriculture development around the world, with limited discussion on China. Meanwhile, after more than 30 years of industrial-oriented development, the agricultural sector in China is in urgent need of an ecological transition. Despite the rapid growth of the organic agricultural sector, the problem of unequal access to healthy foods persists. On the one hand, organic food is only affordable for wealthy, elite consumers; on the other hand, the vast majority of small farmers have limited capacity for conducting organic or ecological farming due to a lack of knowledge and skills and access to the market. By adapting the analytical framework of the IPES-Food report to the Chinese context, this report reviews the outcomes of industrial agriculture and agroecological systems in China, analyses key factors (lock-ins) keeping industrial agriculture in place in China, and proposes ways forward for a paradigm shift in favour of integrated agroecological systems.

Lume: a method for the economic- ecological analysis of agroecosystems

Despite the growing recognition of family farming and agroecology, there is still a dearth of analytical tools to help understand the economic and ecological rationales of family-managed agroecosystems. The Lume method described in this book was developed as a contribution to fill this gap. In the Lume method, the agroecosystem is viewed as a ‘cultivated, socially managed ecosystem’. This holistic analytical method is based on concepts and tools capable of both recognizing and increasing the visibility of the labour of different people involved in the management of agroecosystems. To this end, it adopts an analytical approach consistent with a feminist economics critical of the sexual division of labour and patriarchy as well as the cultural and ideological underpinnings of dominant economic relations that mask the essential role of female farmers in generating social wealth. In this book, the Lume method is used in a study of the impact of a public water security programme on the socio-ecological resilience of family farming in a drought- affected region of Brazil. The authors show how the use of the Lume method has helped reveal the growing contradictions between the scientific premises of agricultural modernization and the local realities of family farming in different socio-environmental contexts. At the same time, the Lume method is shown to be extremely useful in enabling participatory processes of knowledge production on the positive multi-dimensional impacts of agroecology on agricultural development.

Mainstreaming Agroecology: Implications for Global Food and Farming Systems

In 2010, the Centre for Agroecology and Food Security (CAFS) was established to undertake applied research and education on agroecology as the underlying paradigm of sustainable agriculture. This approach is required not only to ensure that all the peoples of the world are fed, but also for humanity to avoid destroying the life support system and renewable resources upon which it depends.

Whilst the term ‘agroecology’ has been increasingly used in international circles over the past two decades, it is less used and not well-understood in the UK, even within the alternative agricultural movements. Therefore this discussion paper was written to inform not only the CAFS multidisciplinary team, but also the very broad audience of people and organisations working for change in the farming production, research and policy arenas.

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