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Sustainable Food Systems

Large-scale industrial agriculture remains the most touted solution to global hunger in development discourse. However, an increasing number of reports and research, endorse agroecological approaches that prioritize smallholder crop production to successfully meet the challenges of climate change and hunger.

Overview

The current development landscape is dominated by Green Revolution ideals—improved or genetically modified seeds used in capital-intensive large-scale agriculture schemes with a prominent role for pesticides and fertilizers. Rather than contributing to food security and sovereignty, these efforts lead to large tracts of monoculture that prioritize export crops, require increased mechanization, and depend on multinationals for chemicals and seeds.

Agroecology provides another path. It encompasses a wide-variety of practices, which are coherent with key principles of environment preservation, social fairness, and economic viability. Agroecology combines parameters of sound ecological management, like minimizing the use of toxics by using on-farm renewable resources and privileging endogenous solutions to manage pests and disease, with an approach that upholds and secures farmers' livelihoods. Agroecological systems like the Rice Intensification implemented along the Niger River in Mali, can double small farmers’ agricultural output. Supporting smallholder farmers, who already produce over 80 percent of the food consumed in many developing regions, is the quickest way to lift over one billion people out of poverty.

What we are doing about it

Adhering to a high investigative standard with consideration of local impact and international trends, The Oakland Institute documents and advocates for agro-ecological farming methods that empower local producers.

The Institute’s thirty-three case studies released in 2015 shed light on the tremendous success of agroecological agriculture across the African continent. They demonstrate with facts and figures how an agricultural transformation respectful of the farmers and their environment can yield immense economic, social, and food security benefits while also fighting climate change and restoring soils and the environment.

Publications

People Vs. Agribusiness cover

People Vs. Agribusiness Corporations: The Battle Over Global Food and Agriculture Governance

People Vs. Agribusiness Corporations: The Battle Over Global Food and Agriculture Governance offers a detailed look and analysis of how the 2021 Food Systems Summit became the most uneventful UN event. The appointment of the President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), as UN Special Envoy of the summit, was the lightning rod that catalyzed global opposition. AGRA’s push of monocultural, fossil fuel-based agriculture...

Dignity or Exploitation – What Future for Farmworker Families in the United States?

Dignity or Exploitation — What Future for Farmworker Families in the United States? documents the systematic abuse of workers in the H-2A program and its impact on the resident farmworker communities, confronted with a race to the bottom in wages and working conditions. H-2A workers also face disproportionate exposure to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report describes some of the most acute situations, and analyzes the basic reason for the...

Jadu'I: The Lost Watermelon of Jenin, Cover

Jadu'I

Jenin is a city located in the northern West Bank where Palestinian farmers used to grow the ba'al succulent watermelon known as Jadu'I. Under the occupation, the Jadu'I was nearly lost. But today, a new generation of agriculturalists are trying to revive it.
Canaan Palestine: Cover

Canaan Palestine

Caanan Palestine helps Palestinian farmers to grow organic crops and get fair trade certification. Improved market access and increased returns on their crops makes it possible for thousands of Palestinian farmers and their families to earn a better living. The project gives hope for the future of food producers living and working under Israeli occupation.

Voices From Africa: African Farmers & Environmentalists Speak Out Against a New Green Revolution in Africa

This report issues a direct challenge to Western-led plans for a genetically engineered revolution in African agriculture, particularly the recent misguided philanthropic efforts of the Gates Foundation's Alliance for a New Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and presents African resistance and solutions rooted in first-hand knowledge of what Africans need.

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Blog

Farmers protests in France

When European Institutions Sacrifice Farmers for Corporate Profit

Monday, February 26, 2024 Frederic Mousseau, Maya Tsingos

Farmers protests in France. Source: Confédération paysanne A wave of farmer protests has spread across Europe since January 2024. In several countries, including France, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Spain, Poland, Germany, and the Netherlands, farmers have mobilized through demonstrations and roadblocks to protest unfair competition, tax burdens, excessive regulation, and an overall lack of recognition and support. One example of the difficulties...

Rolls of dollars in a field

38 Billion Dollar Question – Who is Driving the Destructive Industrial Agriculture Model?

Tuesday, September 20, 2022 Frederic Mousseau

Among the largest institutional investors in fossil fuels, Blackrock and Vanguard are also major shareholders of eight of the largest agrochemical companies.

African Development Bank Vice President Dr. Beth Dunford

The African Development Bank Must Work for Africans, Not Agrochemical Corporations

Thursday, September 15, 2022 Frederic Mousseau and Andy Currier

Instead of doubling down on failed models, now is the time to support solutions that African farmers are calling for across the continent.

Cattle grazing in an area of the Amazon in November, 2015

Brazil: Time to End the Ravages of Industrial Agriculture in the Cerrado and the Amazon

Thursday, September 1, 2022 Frederic Mousseau with Ana Gaitan-Uribe

As the climate emergency gets more devastating everyday, we can’t waste time waiting for action to end the ravages caused by industrial agriculture in Brazil.

Farmer protests against the land reform, December 2020.

Who Really Benefits from the Creation of a Land Market in Ukraine?

Friday, August 6, 2021 Ben Reicher and Frederic Mousseau

Imposing the creation of a land market in Ukraine will further concentrate control of land in the hands of oligarchs and large agribusinesses, while favoring the interests of foreign investors and banks.

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