Agroecology can overcome the failures of the Green Revolution
University of California professor Miguel Altieri is emphatic: “What we know for sure is that industrial agriculture failed to feed the World.” According to Prof. Altieri, the “Green Revolution” model has failed on many levels, from not producing enough food (although food production is not the core problem of hunger) to exposing agricultural systems to environmental disasters to swapping local biodiversity with genetically modified monocrops. As Professor Altieri mentions, we have one billion people who are hungry in the world. From this total, it is estimated that 70 percent are peasant farmers and indigenous people who were pushed out of their ancestral land. This chronic problem will continue to exist unless we replace the Green Revolution and industrial agriculture with agroecology, a framework that values local farmers’ knowledge and contribution to feed themselves and surrounding communities. Through the combination of local knowledge and interdisciplinary technical expertise, agroecology builds a food system that is socially just, environment friendly and economic viable. In this interview, Prof. Altieri outlines how agroecology moves the conversation from “hunger policies” led by the Green Revolution to “real food policies” much needed to end hunger, and create food systems resilient to climate change.