Systemic Problems Require Systemic Solutions

Systemic Problems Require Systemic Solutions

Emily Payne from ‘foodtank – The Think Tank For Food’, reported from a meeting I was invited to, which was organised by Global Alliance for the Future of Food. Her piece is titled Systemic Problems Require Systemic Solutions:

At a recent European regional dialogue, policymakers, researchers, farmers, civil society organization leaders, and others gathered to discuss “The Politics of Knowledge,” a new compendium from the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, and agroecology’s role in helping to solve interconnected global crises.

Systemic Problems Require Systemic Solutions

In her report she quoted me saying these things about my conviction (that I share with many of my colleagues and allies in the growing regenerative agroecology movements) that ‘Systemic problems require systemic solutions’:

But “if agroecology works, both for large and small farms, why isn’t it more widely adopted…if the evidence is there, why isn’t there more action?” says Nina Moeller, Associate Professor at the Center for Agroecology, Water, and Resilience at Coventry University in the United Kingdom.

Agroecology remains marginalized within the agricultural industry despite on-the-ground evidence supporting its value and potential. According to Moeller, this is because “we’re locked into the existing system” of industrial food production.

“There is a vast infrastructure that is in place, which makes it so much easier and so much more convenient for all actors to just continue with business as usual,” says Moeller.

To overcome these systemic barriers, Moeller says that it’s critical to expand the industry’s understanding of what counts as evidence. This means valuing not only qualitative data but also evidence from the ground—from farmers, Indigenous peoples, and social movements as well as researchers and policymakers working in agroecology.

“This evidence is abundant,” says Moeller, “but it is marginalized in decision making processes … power dynamics determine much of what is understood and disseminated as evidence.”

“Systemic problems require systemic solutions, and so we need multiple perspectives and input from many different disciplines, but also from points of view that are non-disciplinary,” says Moeller. This includes the lived experience and cultural history of farmers, peasants, Indigenous peoples, and various types of practitioners using agroecological practices across the world.

It was a pleasure participating and I thank everyone involved in putting the event together and Emily Payne for her report: Thanks! 🙂

Relevant in this context is my work on agroecology funding flows, about which you can find more here and here.