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Event The potential of agroecology: Reclaiming the food crisis

The aim of the conference is to explain the concept of agroecology to an audience of academics, students, farmers, policy makers, NGOs and other stakeholders, who have an interest in environmental studies, agriculture, and food production. The intention is to be challenged as a community and to reflect interactively about potential paths towards transition.

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Period 09/11/2012
Event location European Parliament Room JAN 2Q2 60 rue Wiertz, 1047 Brussels
Host The Greens/EFA in the European Parliament
Event URL
Contact person Central secretariat
Geographical coverage EU - European Union, Europe

Our current food and agricultural system isn't sustainable. Increasingly we get locked in a global production model with high social and environmental costs, mainly in the form of a rapid degradation of biodiversity. There is an urgent need to rethink the global food system. This is why Bart Staes, member of the European Parliament for the Greens, takes the initiative, together with a group of Belgian academics, to organise an international conference on transition towards a more sustainable agricultural and food model: agroecology.

Although we do know that agroecology isn't the silver bullet that will solve all problems, we also know that the potential of agroecology as a science, agricultural practice and social movement, is underestimated and is not seriously considered as an answer to the current food crisis.

The 'Take Home Message' of this conference has three main points:

  1. The worldwide challenge of producing enough food in a sustainable way, is not in the first place a problem of increasing productivity. The search for solutions for the food crisis should go beyond this. They should focus on a redefinition of the relationship between food production, access to land (More than 90 % of the fertile land is being used for non-food produce), employment and environment (the majority of those who suffer hunger are farmers) and also deal with the question on who will feed the big cities (85% of the population in 2050).
  1. The need to explore agroecology seriously (politically, scientifically and socially). It contains also a necessity of rebalance of the funds on the level of budgets and scientific programs.
  1. The challenge is to create a dynamic platform of transition, that considers:
  • The issue of employment in the rural areas (revenues/production). We need a transformation and decentralisation of food production (50 % of hunger is in rural zones, which leads to the rural exodus) that also considers the role in and impact of all actors in the food chain on consumption and distribution. What is the role and effect of land grabbing, and the role of official authorities on the control of land. Which power balance is needed between different actors?
  • The environmental issues, more particularly the loss of biodiversity and how this affects food production and livelihoods?


8.30 - 9.30
Arrival participants

9.30 - 9.45
Keynote Speech:
'The social and ecological challenges: the current crisis of the global agricultural and food production systems'

Speaker: Marie-Monique Robin, Journalist and author of 'The world according Monsanto ' and 'Notre poison quotidien'

9.45- 10.15
European dilemmas of agricultural research : current imbalances and future perspectives

Speaker: Dr. Les Levidow (Open University)

The European landscape of agroecology.

Speaker: Prof. Pierre Stassart (University Liège) , (confirmed) , Prof. Xavier Le Roux (INRA-EFPA,Paris)

About: An overview about the current situation for agroecology in the European Union: best practices, examples from the ground, grassroots experiences.

Agroecology in Latin America: Science or Social Movement?

Speaker: Laercio Meirelles (Centro Ecologico Bresil)

About: Which experiences with agroecology in Latin America? What links in the field of agroecology between the academic world and social movements like MAELA, in Brazil and Latin America in general?

Three video testimonies followed by debate:

  • La era del Buen Vivir by Jeroen Verhoeven and Aline Dehasse
  • Je mange donc je suis
  • Réseaux semences paysannes

12.30 - 14.00

Socio-economical impacts of Agroecology

Speaker: Marcel Mazoyer (TBC)

About: What are the socio-economical impacts of agroecology on a micro level? How can agroecology benefit rural employment?

Agroecology and biodiversity

Speaker: Muriel Tichit (INRA, Paris)

About: the debate of land share versus land spare.

15.00 - 16.00
Interactive session

People with a big interest in agroecology and a (professional) potential to help us move to another agricultural and foodsystem were brought together for this conference. During this interactive session we want to collect paths and possibilities that each of us has or sees to ease the way towards a more agro-ecological system.

Final reflections

by Dirk Holemans

Closure of the conference

by Bart Staes


Simultaneous interpretation will be provided in French - English - Dutch

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