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.
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’.
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 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
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.
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