(International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems) IPES-Food report (02.06.2016): From Uniformity to Diversity: A Paradigm Shift from Industrial Agriculture to Diversified Agroecological Systems.)
via the incomprable Maya Montenegro, Graduate Student In Agroecology at the Berkeley University. Big thans!
• Today’s food and farming systems have succeeded in supplying large volumes of foods to
global markets, but are generating negative outcomes on multiple fronts: widespread
degradation of land, water and ecosystems; high GHG emissions; biodiversity losses;
persistent hunger and micro-nutrient deficiencies alongside the rapid rise of obesity and
diet-related diseases; and livelihood stresses for farmers around the world.
• Many of these problems are linked specifically to ‘industrial agriculture’: the input-intensive
crop monocultures and industrial-scale feedlots that now dominate farming landscapes. The
uniformity at the heart of these systems, and their reliance on chemical fertilizers, pesticides
and preventive use of antibiotics, leads systematically to negative outcomes and
• Industrial agriculture and the ‘industrial food systems’ that have developed around it are
locked in place by a series of vicious cycles. For example, the way food systems are currently
structured allows value to accrue to a limited number of actors, reinforcing their economic
and political power, and thus their ability to influence the governance of food systems.
• Tweaking practices can improve some of the specific outcomes of industrial agriculture, but
will not provide long-term solutions to the multiple problems it generates.
• What is required is a fundamentally different model of agriculture based on diversifying
farms and farming landscapes, replacing chemical inputs, optimizing biodiversity and
stimulating interactions between different species, as part of holistic strategies to build longterm
fertility, healthy agro-ecosystems and secure livelihoods, i.e. ‘diversified agroecological
• There is growing evidence that these systems keep carbon in the ground, support
biodiversity, rebuild soil fertility and sustain yields over time, providing a basis for secure
• Data shows that these systems can compete with industrial agriculture in terms of total
outputs, performing particularly strongly under environmental stress, and delivering
production increases in the places where additional food is desperately needed. Diversified
agroecological systems can also pave the way for diverse diets and improved health.
• Change is already happening. Industrial food systems are being challenged on multiple
fronts, from new forms of cooperation and knowledge-creation to the development of new
market relationships that bypass conventional retail circuits.
• Political incentives must be shifted in order for these alternatives to emerge beyond the
margins. A series of modest steps can collectively shift the centre of gravity in food system