The Future of Farming is Agroecological

The problem with our global food system – and how to fix it

Written by Chris Williams, New Economics Foundation.

Originally posted online through the New Economics Foundation's blog.


In early January, the Oxford Real Farming Conference brought together over 5,000 people from all around the world to discuss how farming and agriculture can transition to a system that works with natural systems and supports farmers to farm in a way that reduces chemical inputs and regenerates soil and biodiversity. This inspiring event had to move online due to the pandemic but used the opportunity to expand its remit to bring farmers, land workers, practitioners, movement builders, academics and NGOs from the Global North and South together to learn from each other.

THE CHALLENGE


Farming is bound up in our neoliberal economic system. This means that farming’s value comes from a narrow focus on producing as much food as possible, regardless of environmental or human cost (usually through increased fertiliser and pesticide use) for global commodity markets. It is also driven mainly by profit, often achieved through poorly paid jobs