Numerous scientific studies and empirical experiences around the world have shown that peasant and family farm-based agroecological approaches are superior to industrial agriculture. Yet the challenge remains of how to bring agroecology to scale, so that it is practised by ever more families, over ever larger territories. This lecture points to the need to prioritize social science approaches and self-study by rural movements, to draw systematic lessons from their successful experiences. These points are illustrated with reference to emblematic cases selected from the experience of La Via Campesina (LVC), arguably the world’s largest social movement, and a key venue for expanding agroecological experience through its global, regional and national agroecology and peasant seed processes.
Peter Rosset is a professor at the ECOSUR Advanced Studies Institute in Chiapas, Mexico, and a visiting professor at the Federal University of Ceará (UFC) in Brazil. He studies how rural social movements like La Via Campesina construct collective processes to build food sovereignty, scale up agroecology, defend land and territory, and fight for agrarian reform. Among his many books is “Agroecological Revolution: The Farmer to Farmer Movement of ANAP in Cuba” (Havana and Jakarta, 2013). He is part of the international technical staff team of La Via Campesina.