Keys to transition to agroecology

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Colofon: Published February 2016, Addis Ababa Ethiopia. Š Jelleke de Nooy van Tol. You are free to use and copy text from this book as long as you refer to this document and the author. Hand-drawn figures by Robert SmitŠ, De jongens-van-de-tekeningen, Delft First published in Dutch, November 2013, titled HEEL DE WERELD, by Jan van Arkel Publishing House, in collaboration with the Netwerk for Vital Agriculture and Food, NVLV, Netherlands. This book is part of a series by the same author: 1. Transition to AgroEcology, for a food secure world 2. Yellow Pages for AgroEcology, worldwide 3. Transition to ArgoEecology- to the Tipping Point; or how can we do support and accelerate the transition? 4. Twenty five examples of frontrunners in the New Normal agriculture Download from: Contact: Please give your feedback to the author at



Contents 1 2

Introduction ................................................................................................................ 6 Transition – how can we make it happen? ................................................................. 8 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13


To the tipping point .................................................................................................. 27 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6


Introduction .......................................................................................................................... 37 Transformation of knowledge for agriculture and food. ...................................................... 39 Three phases of knowledge management between 1950 and 2010. ................................... 39 Different knowledge systems. .............................................................................................. 42 Attitudes decide about agricultural practises ....................................................................... 45 And what does this mean for sustainable agriculture and food? ......................................... 48 Transformation of regular knowledge-transfer into co-creation.......................................... 49 A new knowledge-base for sustainable farming practises.................................................... 52 Conclusions. .......................................................................................................................... 53

Past the Tipping Point ............................................................................................... 55 5.1 5.2 5.3


On our way to a world which already exists. ........................................................................ 28 To the Tipping Point. ............................................................................................................. 28 Courage, leadership and cooperation. .................................................................................. 30 How can we change and manifest the change?.................................................................... 32 How do others support and accelerate the change? ............................................................ 33 The Asilomar declaration ...................................................................................................... 34

Knowledge for transition .......................................................................................... 37 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9


The transition is already here! ................................................................................................ 8 Lessons from the frontrunners ............................................................................................... 9 Time for the followers. .......................................................................................................... 10 Towards knowledge systems that support transition ........................................................... 11 A new ‘frame of mind’ for science. ....................................................................................... 13 Obstacles for transition ......................................................................................................... 15 Breaking through the barriers? ............................................................................................. 16 An example of behavioural change in practise .................................................................... 18 The 4 E’s – Effective strategies for behavioural change ....................................................... 20 From regular policy making to transition policy ............................................................... 22 Transition management ................................................................................................... 23 The course of a transition process .................................................................................... 23 Transition requires us to learn from the emerging future. .............................................. 25

Facing the challenge ............................................................................................................. 55 Looking back from 2030 ........................................................................................................ 55 How did we manage this? ..................................................................................................... 57

Realising the future ................................................................................................... 60 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 6.9 6.10

Rethinking by all .................................................................................................................... 60 Actions by consumers ........................................................................................................... 61 Actions by farmers, farmers’ organisations and NGO’s ........................................................ 63 Agenda for Agribusiness ....................................................................................................... 65 Investors change their investment plans .............................................................................. 66 Agenda for policy and governments: a new agricultural revolution..................................... 68 Actions for combined agribusiness & development assistance. ........................................... 71 Urban Food Policy ................................................................................................................. 74 Science and research support transition .............................................................................. 75 Together: Prevent food losses .......................................................................................... 77

References ........................................................................................................................ 78


Transtion… but how? “Since about 40 years, the talks and controversies about how to better take care of the environment are focussed on content matter: water, climate change, ozone, oil spills, ecological footprint, fish depletion; everyone agrees that we need to become more sustainable in our production methods. But a real change towards the better depends on (political) power, influence and high stakes in the world economy. So it were better to pay attention to the necessary transition in this socio-economic domain.” Klaas van Egmond1 “We need a dramatic transition to sustainability! But, can transitions be made to happen?” Jim Woodhill, CDI Wageningen “On behalf of the planet it is now time to mature!” Marylin Mehlmann, General Secretary Global Action Programme


Prof.Dr. Klaas van Egmond, at a workshop of the Association for environmental professionals about the Sustainability Monitor, the Netherlands, 31-01-2012.



Introduction “Agro-ecology is the structural answer for future agriculture.” This statement was made by the IAASTDi, the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development, in its report Agriculture at a Crossroads, 20072, based on all the investigations carried out all over the world by this group of well-known scientists. Subsequently the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier de Schutter,ii stated in 2010 that agro-ecological agriculture can generate an increase in agricultural production and food security, as well as an increase in income for small farmers, while providing a barrier against genetic erosion, resulting from industrial agriculture. In Europe in 2012, Andrea Ferrante3 gave a passionate speech on small agro-ecological farmers: “It is impossible to see Europe without small farmers and entrepreneurs! Their essential function in guaranteeing food security is finally recognised. On top of this they play a central role in the dynamic development of all the European landscapes and regions. Furthermore they put a low claim on the Commons, the communal natural resources of this world. They are essential. But we still lack a coherent policy to support these small farmers and their function.” Through research, Prof. Jan Douwe van der Ploeg (Wageningen University) and Prof. Jules Pretty (London) show us that smallholder farmers are producing 75% of the world’s food. Supporting those smallholder farmers to grow food more sustainably and to double their harvests by better access to inputs like compost, seed, tools and agro-ecology practices, will solve the food problem. For the February 2016 conference in Wageningen, Netherlands, the organising team states that “Agro-ecology is becoming the new normal.” In my book Transition to Agriculture, for a food secure world’4 you can read how, all over the world, the change to agro-ecology is taking place and how each of us can support this transition, be it as an agricultural professional, a consumer, a donor agency, a researcher, a policy maker, a decision maker, an investor, a food processor, a student. Worldwide emergence of agro-ecology and smallholder support. From around 2005 onwards, in increasing tempo and all over the world, we see initiatives coming up and growing fast. Herman Wijffels, a well known

2 by ECVC, European Coordination Via Campesina 4 You can download the book from 3


advisor to the Government of the Netherland,s talks about an underground current that is now surfacing; if you look for it you can recognise the signs of this movement. Ken Wilber explains the transition as a very clear process: it first happens internally, in individuals and groups, where by people get another attitude, new ideas and concepts. At some point the change becomes visible externally, it materialises in the physical world and we can actually see the change. We can see it in other products in the supermarket, in new regulations, in the landscape farmers working differently, in other tools, in collaboration. Obstacles. Of course there are obstacles, resistance and adverse developments as well. The big agro-food companies for example influence politics to their own advancement, often to the detriment of the planet’s natural resources, agro-ecological practises and smallholder farmers. We see companies claiming patents on seed, or potatoes, so that smallholder farmers cannot use their own multiplied seed any longer and are forced to buy from the industry; a new European regulation makes that lupine (which is a very good soil improving crop) is all of a sudden not allowed to be grown by smallholder farmers any longer (January 2016) ; there is a strong lobby going on that glyphosate – which was finally forbidden to use and sell – may be reinstated by the European Commission. To the Tipping Point. Despite the above policies and machinations that are based on ‘old thinking’, the movement to The New Normal by people, farmers, organisations, politicians , donor agencies and investors continues to grow; in this way we will be able- together- to get to the tipping point in favour of agro-ecological practises. So now the question is how we can make this transition happen? How can we support and accelerate the change? This book takes you along in the transition process and gives us the keys to support the movement to grow and get to the Tipping Point.


2 2.1

Transition – how can we make it happen? The transition is already here! So here we are, in the middle of a worldwide transition. Even if you hadn’t noticed yet, a thorough change to different ways of living and producing has set in. This change may have been triggered by concern about deteriorating ecosystems or imminent water shortage or climate change or hunger, at the same time a change is going on globally in personal and organisational development, towards other worldviews and perceptions. We are also changing – worldwide from conventional industrial agriculture to Agroecology, restoration agriculture, permaculture, family farming, integrated regional development, local cooperation. During the World Cultural Forum conference in China5 it was stated “that we experience a systems change, from the economy, GNP and profit-dominated era into a time of promoting Ecological Civilization Construction, based on equal exchanges”.iii

Fig. 1 paradigm shift

From a distance, and when we look back on history, a transition seems a continuous process, in which the character of a civilisation gradually undergoes a structural change. You could compare such a transition to a caterpillar changing into a nymph and a nymph changing into a butterfly. But if you find yourself in the middle of such a change, the transition appears to happen more jerkily, as a sudden manifest effect of a process that has been going on for a while. Such a process starts quite unnoticed, with members of a group, an organisation or population changing their minds, their focus and their decision making. After a while, some sort of collective consciousness develops, which makes earlier conventional ideas and approaches obsolete. All of a sudden, in a group or at organisational 5


China, the World Cultural Forum, may 2013,

level, people recognise in each other the new, changed approaches. The penny drops, collectively. That is the Turning Point. A paradigm shift has taken place, we now look different at things and processes; this expresses itself in our (new ) ways of living and working. The new approach has become the mainstream, the New Normal.


Lessons from the frontrunners The 25 examples show us that transition becomes effective through many different factors, but mainly through personal leadership and individual action. Transition is personal and of human make. What lessons can we learn from them? Pioneers. There are always one or a few pioneers who start something new. They have a dream, or an image of the new normal and what it looks like. The examples in chapters 6 to 11 show us that such a person always combines a vison with a practical / hands on approach. He or she is committed and has the perseverance to continue when there are setbacks. She is also a natural in getting people and organisations involved in her plan. Intuition and collaboration are prerequisites. For what reason is transition being started? From the examples we learn that those pioneers were disappointed or angry about the regular approaches in agriculture and food production; often combined with a clear and business-like concept for a solution . often it was a shocking experience in their life or work that triggered the transition. Market economies. The transition to another, more sustainable way of producing is often brought about by the demand in the market. International food suppliers demand from their contract farmers that they deliver products that are produced in a more sustainable/ social responsible way. sometimes consumers ‘en masse’ chose a certain product. E.g. mothers now buy only organic baby food since they believe it is healthier. Personal leadership. People who start and manage the transition are powerful in that they organise an enabling environment in order to get the change done. It is not only about pursuing a personal dream; this must be tango-ed to listening to what others want and being open for what opportunities present themselves (the emerging future) . Institutional support. Financial and social support are necessary conditions for success. Facilitation of the transition process, a sparring partner and a good plan are essential. Attention and promotion by others are also supportive. But this support only comes when: (1) potential supporters see chances for success. They shouldn’t be ‘waylaid’ by following their own agendas, which prevent change. (2) pioneers can present their plans or ambitions in a convincing way, with a story, enthusiasm, arguments, a business plan. (3) there is room for budgetary or organisational experiment


(4) when the criteria for supporting ‘change-projects’ are open; that is, criteria should not be based on a predetermined concept of the shape of the change. Room for experiments. To allow for leaning from mistakes and from our own and others’ experience, we need (1)room for experiments, (2) participative action research and (3) learning networks. Experiments show us direct results. And ever since, principles such as ‘seeing is believing’ and ’good example attracts followers’ do work.


Time for the followers. In each process of change there are the above mentioned frontrunners (or pioneers), quick adapters,, followers and latecomers6. The latter group doesn’t like change or is scared of change; usually they stick to conventional views and ways of doing. Often, in their anxiety of losing grip on the situation, they plead for more control and enforcement measures, as those seem to offer a fake security in times of insecurity. Pioneers are usually eyed with suspicion. They are regarded as ‘alternative’ and ‘naive’. Generally they are not taken seriously, like the environmentalists of the first hour. And that is only caused by them behaving differently, in new ways; they may put across ‘out of the box’ views and they try out ‘inventions’ of which we don’t know yet how they might work out. Many pioneers’ views and practises are not trusted, since we live in a western knowledge-system culture that only approves of something after it has been scientifically proven to be true. Many sensible practises7 by farmers, based on experiential knowledge, are not accepted as long as scientific experts deny them. Inventions by pioneers are picked up by so called early adapters; the ones who see opportunities in such an invention and make it an innovation. They create an environment in which the idea can be put into use under real life conditions. Those early adapters still have problems getting subsidies or investments,8 as the criteria for investments are often based on conventional agenda’s and views. But we do see changes! Between 2013 and 2015 in Ethiopia the Fund for Sustainable Rural Entrepreneurship (FSRE) invested in exactly such innovations,9 in order to scale up innovative practises in agriculture. In 2014 and 2015 the WWSF (World Water…. Fund) invested in innovators also to scale up and disseminate the new approach.


Frontrunners, early adapters, followers and latecomers. The Innovation curve by Rogers Like permaculture, soil health improvements with stone meal or copper wire, homeopathic treatment of animals, use of salt water, natural cycle management, etc. 8 As we have seen in the example of sea weed production and regional food for hospital kitchens. 9 7


Followers are the people who really want the change, but cannot or dare not make the first step. Followers need to let go of preconceptions and prejudices. They only adopt an innovation if the risks are clear and can be dealt with, when the necessary (social and financial) resources are in place, when it does lead to more income, when it is socially acceptable, when already more people are doing it. For followers, the good examples in the neighbourhood are important. Therefore, it should be encouraged to nominate more demonstration farms and model farmers in every region. The 25 examples of frontrunners10 are all from pioneers or early adapters. They should be convincing enough for large groups of potential followers to make the change to better soil management, agro-ecology, other certification systems, regional cooperation, etc. How can we get potential followers to follow? It’s been tried by pioneers to pull at latecomers (governments) to make or support the change, but that doesn’t work. For the transition to the New Normal we very much need – and need to support – the quick adapters and the followers. By assuring an enabling environment, in which the risks are clear, the social and financial resources are put into place and the innovation is made socially acceptable. Throughout the period 2010- 2019 the followers are the ones that will make the good examples of the pioneers and the early adapters to a success.


Towards knowledge systems that support transition To make the transition, we cannot wait any longer for the established science and technology. Because for the bigger part, they are employed by the incumbent powers that are tightly knit to industrial agriculture and monoculture production systems. Also here we need to change the rules. There are three main obstacles that make it hard for scientists to really make the change: 1. The traditional belief that science should objectively state the truth, by means of technological and methodological analyses into the smallest details of a system (thus not seeing the integrated whole). This is combined with a strong belief in technological progress and the economy (profit, production at marginal financial costs) as steering wheel. For agri-culture as a coherent culture of soil management, food production, social life, personal development and health, that is an outdated approach. 2. The way in which scientific research is organised - with PhD’s focussing on details of systems, competition for financing, the need to publish in high quality scientific journals that only allow disciplinary (and not holistic, integrated, interdisciplinary) studies – prevents self-reflection and interdisciplinary systems approaches. Thus it is difficult for a scientist


One of the 4 documents of this series ‘Agroecology, for a food secure world’. Downloadable from


to open up for other ways of looking at the world and for other scientific approaches. 3. The unilateral focus of institutions that finance scientific research (like ministries of agriculture, large funding agencies like banks, agribusiness and food production multinationals) prevents scientists to focus on holistic systems, integrated farming and such. Agricultural Research for Development (ARD) requires new thinking, if it is to be relevant in the new rapidly changing global context. Because agriculture’s role is undergoing rapid change. Agriculture is now seen as a key cause, and potential mitigator, of anthropogenic climate change; a producer not only of food, fibre and fuel but also of vital ecosystem services (such as access to fresh water); and a key factor in poverty reduction and food security. Key recent international reports have not only called for renewed attention to agriculture, but have also emphasised that business as usual is not an option (IAASTD 2008; World Bank 2008; IPCC 2007; Millennium EA 2006; and IAC 2004). Agriculture is multi-functional. It’s function is not only to produce food, fibre and fuel but also to deliver other ecological services, including water, climate change mitigation, and biodiversity, which are vital for regenerating the troposphere; Smallholder farming. The underused potential of the millions of hectares of smallholder farming, with its productivity of typically one tonne per ha, holds the best promise for dealing with the current global food and sustainability crisis, and for addressing persistent rural poverty in SubSaharan Africa; African smallholders are dynamic and innovative and will eagerly exploit opportunities offered to them; Institutional change. The development of smallholder farming requires both, realistic and remunerative opportunities through institutional change, and raising yields through new technology; Institutional and technical change can be addressed through an IS approach, i.e. facilitating concerted action of relevant development actors assembled around perceived opportunities for smallholder innovation. Exploration and participative approaches. Development activities that are appropriate and effective in creating realistic opportunities for smallholders cannot be designed beforehand on the basis of expertise. CoS1 taught us that pre-analytic choices cause path-dependency before you know where you need to be going. Required is an incremental process that features exploration of opportunities and constraints, participatory


identification of ‘impact points’ and negotiated concertation among development actors.11


A new ‘frame of mind’ for science. It is therefore time that the about 150 years existing ‘social contract’ between society and western science (delivering ‘objective’ knowledge) changes into supporting socio-eco-technical development. In the old contract it was about ‘knowing better’. In the new contract it is about ‘facilitating change’ by offering knowledge exchange methods that are effective in the different contexts. Such science is already available and can be profiled in various ways: » Offering insights and knowledge on the processes that occur and are needed in system innovation, like multi stakeholder approaches and social learning. Emphasis lies on societal management of sustainable development. Such research needs to be done in collaboration with social partners, in open processes of innovation. It is the study of ‘transition’ and how it works as a means for sustainable development towards an ecological society. The institute DRIFT in the Netherlands is an example of such an approach. The purpose of CoS-SIS12 is to carry out interdisciplinary policy experiments with a view to elaborate, apply and assess an approach to sustainable rural poverty alleviation and food security, based on Innovation System (IS) thinking. » Process management and process facilitation for collective learning is another field of study. In 2010 an out of the box initiative in this field was taken by professor Jan Jonker.13 He called it a crowdsourcing project: everyone in the country was invited to take part in 30 thematic brainstorm groups to work on the ‘Our Common Future’ Report 2.0. This resulted in something like a ‘current’, made up by maybe 1% of the population; this catalysed thinking and talking about the problems and the solutions in the networks of all participants. The soil campaigns of 2015 generated a similar joint focus and awareness within many different organisations. The effect is comparable to what Avaaz and other such internet based communities do when they take responsibility for a certain issue or development and so institute a stream of thought and an effective movement. The internet based movement 38 degrees explicitly calls itself so, since 38 degrees is the angle under which snowcrystals stick together to make an actual flake. Such approaches have become another new way of knowledge development, working towards the necessary transition.


Says Jim Woodhill: ‘Dealing with the complex means investing in multiple ‘experiments’ and scaling up what works –an evolutionary design approach to development intervention’. At the start of CoS-SIS, the only thing we know is that we don’t know. 12 Convergence of Sciences,Strengthening Agricultural Innovation Systems. 13 Jan Jonker, professor at Nijmegen University, NL. His books (in Dutch) are about strategic sustainable management: entice, connect and anchor!.


» Offering a platform for reflection and knowledge development on the interconnections (linkages?) between aspects of sustainability. For example, by generating knowledge and insight with the different stakeholders together, like businesses, government, social partners, NGO’s and knowledge centres. The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED, London) focussesiv on exactly that. The same thing goes for Institute for Advanced sustainability Studies (IASS, Germany). AgriProFocus (NL) provides facilitation for platforms on topics in agriculture that are in transition (on a national scale) in 10 developing countries. It is not only about generating knowledge but also about applying it in policy agendas. New concepts can be tried out as an experiment, which then will be closely monitored by scientist on Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. CoS-SIS14 is making headway in unleashing very interesting dynamics. It seems that bringing together key actors on multi-stakeholder platforms, around some issue, sets in motion a trajectory of self-propelled development that does not need injections of non-replicable special resources. Such dynamics suggest the existence of mechanisms that have barely been recognised » Support governments in choosing the right policies and practises. Between 2014 and 2019 IIED15 supports governments and advocacy partners to put international agree-ments into practice at national and local levels, using practical evidence we’ve collected together to inform and influence decision making. Linking local issues to global debates. » Reflexive monitoring. This means doing monitoring, following what happens, what frontrunners and quick adapters do - without pre-set indicators to which they should adhere. The focus should be on how their approaches work: personal ideas, inter-linkages, feed-back mechanisms, inputs, outputs, impact. It is scientifically interesting to find out why such experiments work, what mechanisms make them work, what conditions are needed. » Finding the steps that make transition happen. It is - scientifically seen very interesting to find out how and why people and organisations make the change to agro-ecology, restoration farming, permaculture, supporting family farming or integrated farming in developing countries. Including success and fail factors. Including the inhibitions of people to change. Once we know this, institutional support can focus on strengthening the success factors, and remedy the fail factors by creating an enabling environment.


Convergence of Sciences,Strengthening Agricultural Innovation Systems. 15 International Institute for Environment and Development, London.


» (Participative) Research into how regulations and legislation and policy agendas can contribute to an overall change to agro-ecology and agroforestry and integrated regional development. A good example is the CoPSIS programme Convergence of Sciences.16 Strengthening Agricultural Innovation Systems; Promoting African Smallholder Agricultural production systems through Institutional Innovation.v “We concentrate on facilitating Innovation. We have identified the following major hurdles and challenges” (Hounkonnou et al, 2012): - Institutional change is threatening interest and creating enemies due to conflicting interests of stakeholders. - Who sustains local multistakehodler innovation systems, if research projects ( or facilitation) end? - Progress depends on decision makers believing in smallholders as a path to food security (or not). » Scientific support and development of endogenous knowledge systems. The focus is on dis-covering (N.B. the original focus of science!) local experiential knowledge and culture or group-related knowledge. Biodynamic farming, Vedic agriculture, permaculture and closed-loop farming can also be regarded as culture-related knowledge. » Substantiate that agro-ecology works. Agro-ecology comes in various shapes, depending on the physical and cultural properties of the region. Action research, supported by experiential learning in existing farming practises, will support the expansion of such approaches. Landscapes for People, Food and Nature 17is actually doing that. » Research into the approaches for, and effects and impact of, shared and community learning and participatory certification systems. In Ethiopia, ICCO has a special fund only for this purpose: the money is used solely for exchanges on experiential knowledge between innovative sustainable farmers. It is important to have the Lessons Learnt documented.


Obstacles for transition Which obstacles and blockades do we meet when working on transition? When we look at societal change from a complex systems’ view, taking into account the powers that play a role, the interconnections between people and organisations, the pattern that occur, then it is effective to know which activities, interventions and contexts oppose and block transition. Because, once you are aware of them, when you know the causes so to say, then you can overcome them. Here are18 a few blockades and counteractive mechanisms:


Proceedings of the CoS-SIS International Workshop Elmina Ghana 2012 18 From the essay ‘Klompen in the machinerie’ (Sand in the machine; conscious and unconscious sabotage of the transition to sustainable energy) by Jan Paul van Soest, environmental expert, 2010. 17


» Wrong choices. Very often an important, powerful or influential player in the field (government, policymaker, lobby group, business) stimulates the wrong development. Not uncommonly as a result of personal interest or profit. A ‘wrong’ decision could also be the choice for investment in a process with the purpose of getting a certain intended outcome; we know that the uncontrollable dynamics of the reality of multi-stakeholder processes lead to quite another result. » The one sided description or interpretation of a problem and also the narrowly focussed beliefs in one sided solutions, prevent ‘out of the box’ innovations. It would be much better to do some participative back casting exercises, to get a broad view of opportunities. » Negative and counteractive personal qualities of decision makers; such as a ‘wait and see’ attitude, indecisiveness, lack of trust, unwillingness, ego-driven decision making. » Lack of personal leadership. Personal leadership is required in all layers of an organisation, not only with the formal leaders or managing directors. People that have personal leadership will not bow for pressure, will listen to their own conscience and will choose what is good for the whole organisation, or country, or region. » The power of a small but influential group. They are sometimes called ‘dressed up stakeholders’. We talk about lobbyists for a certain important individual goal, who pretend to be objective and independent advisors. Even though you would not suspect it, at times this happens to be the case with highly recommended formal government-advising institutes. » ‘Framing’ of the debate. Framing means that a discussion about pros and cons will be conducted within a previously designed ‘frame’. This frame describes the problem as it is perceived by an influential group and it gives a number of previously conceived and well calculated solutions, probably not including all possible solutions or any ‘out of the box’ opportunities. Arguments and facts from outside this frame are not taken into account; they are usually dismissed as non- realistic (i.e. not fitting the frame). If the frame should appear not to be fitting, then most often the real problems in the real world are being denied, instead of the frame being adjusted to a broader scope of the more complex reality.


Breaking through the barriers? Blockades and the way to deal with them have been described in Terra Reversa,19 a book about the transition we are presently making towards a liveable sustainable world. Peter Tom Jones &Vicky de Meyere show us


Terra Reversa, transition to fair sustainability, 2009. If we want the generations after us to inherit a liveable world, we must change our ways substantially. In this book, Peter Tom Jones &Vicky de Meyere elaborate on suitable transition paths that need to be taken by governments, businesses and entrepreneurs.


the blockades at the consumer and the producer side of a food production process.

Fig.2 breaking barriers

Terra Reversa turns to Ken Wilber’s20 model for ways of solving the blockades. Wilber argues that transition is only possible if four parallel societal changes take place, while supporting each other.Iv We are to instigate those social changes in the areas of Attitude (norms and values, what people find acceptable or not done) and Behaviour (that what we see people do around us, the materialisation of their attitude), Culture (world views, belief systems) and Structures (organisations, regulations, laws, taxes, subsidies, the materialisation of the culture). In Ken Wilber’s integral approach (fig 2) we see that all necessary changes in the four social areas (attitude, behaviour, culture, structures) are established in interaction. The internal sphere refers to the non- visible attitudes, worldviews, dreams, culture (within a person, an organisation or region). They become visible in the external sphere in actual behaviour, new developments; externally we see the manifestation of dreams and actions into the physical reality, the environment. Individual and collective attitudes, stakes and ambitions influence each other. The necessary, parallel, societal changes in attitude and behaviour at one hand and in culture and structure at the other, are best explained with an example from Terra Reversa. See next paragraph 2.4 20

Ken Wilber is regarded by some as one of the most influential contemporary thinkers in transpersonal psychology, philosophy and spirituality.


Fig. 3. Ken Wilber’s integral approach about societal change

An example of behavioural change in practise21


In 2012 the FAO advised to produce and consume less meat, worldwide. If we want to follow up on that advise and make the transition - which is a real systems change in both consumers’ and producers’ behaviour - we encounter the following barriers, which can only be tackled by 4 synchronic (and probably orchestrated) societal changes. At the meat-production side there are two big barriers, both Cultural and Structural and enhanced by (a conservative) Attitude. 1. A powerful, influential agro-industrial production system, which is not liable to change its approaches drastically or on a short term, unless it is economically viable. 2. global regulations (WTO) which, by their character, do not stimulate the sitting regime to change toward more sustainable approaches. Using Wilber’s model for the meat- consumption side we find barriers in Behaviour, Attitude, Culture (worldviews) and Structure.




Barriers in Behaviour In our Western menu, meat plays a dominant role. Popele are used to eating meat every day. Vegetarian is regarded as alternative. Habit: to change to another way of cooking and eating is difficult, needs extra effort. Food buying habits: people are often used to buy at a certain supermarket, know their route, and buy habitual food. Barriers in Attitude ‘Perception gap.’ People assume - and will tell you - that nowadays they eat and buy more sustainably. But when monitored it doesn’t appear to be so.

From Terra Reversa, transition to fair sustainability, 2009. Peter Tom Jones &Vicky de Meyere













Consumption is narcistic, focussed on satisfying the Self. Sugar, chocolate, alcohol, fast food or just too much food, is taken when one wants to feel better. This attitude is enhanced by advertisements claiming that “you are worth this”, and so offering self-esteem through food or drinks. People generally do not see the connection between their individual choices and the societal impact, either here (economy, health) or in other countries. A feeling of impotence “It wouldn’t make a difference if I stopped eating meat while all those other people won’t and on top of that, the Chinese eat meat increasingly, would it?” Barriers in Culture/ Worldview The individual is more important than the community or the relationship with nature. This expresses itself in our (Western) eating culture: “I feel better or more important when I can afford to eat a lot and when I BBQ often. If I want strawberries in December they should be available.” Most people are not even aware of the ecological and societal footprint of the products they eat, or the circumstances \inder which their food is being produced. . People have lost the connection with food as the final result of a human and natural process. Food is regarded as ‘goods’ that can be bought; cows are no longer seen as animals but as milk machines, pigs and chicken are not visible at all and are not much more than meat on legs.1 Estrangement; the relationship with the animal behind the meat has gone lost. Hardly anyone realises that the nicely packed 4 chicken breasts, that look not much different from soy, have come from two real life chicken. There is a commonly accepted idea that one needs to eat meat to remain healthy. Barriers in Structure/ Institutional level Meat is cheap since many external production costs are not (taken into account in the price) If the environmental, and health costs would be incorporated, then meat and other food products would be unaffordable. Regional and organic products however would be cheaper At country-policy level, the seriousness of the effects of excessive meat production and consumption has not been recognised yet. Partly because there are too high stakes in maintaining the production itself ( import/export, GNP, agribusiness and food conglomerates lobby) Few politicians dare risk their short term future, by suggesting a thorough change in our production systems for the longer term The European Union considers itself a protagonist of a rigorous global climate change policy; but she cancelled parliamentary demands for measures toward decreasing meat consumption.


The 4 E’s – Effective strategies for behavioural change Behavioural change is one of the four aspects of transition as we saw in Ken Wilber’s analysis.22 DEFRA, the Department for Rural Affairs and Agriculture in Great Britain, has designed the 4 E’s23 approach to support change to happen. The 4 E’s are instruments for change in behaviour, but they must be used at the same time, supporting each other. The four E’s represent Enable, Encourage, Exemplify and Engage. » Enable. For sustainable behaviour, conditions have to be in place. Conditions that enable consumers to easier change into sustainable behaviour. It must be easier for consumers to buy sustainably produced products. This can be done by labelling, so that the products are more easily recognised, by advertisement and by price inducement. In enabling sustainable production and consumption, governments play an important role, if they take the role, that is. A government can facilitate that not only brave frontrunners create innovative enabling circumstances, surmounting many difficulties and barriers on their own; governments can mainstream such new developments. It means supporting such innovations by putting them on agenda’s. the ‘alternative’ becomes the New Normal.

Fig. 4. The 4 E’s

» Encourage. For example, to encourage consumers to buy sustainable products. Presently, we are mostly discouraged to buy sustainably, because of pricing (procedures). So is a ticket for a seat on a sustainable high speed train from Brussels to the South of France 3 times the price of a ticket for an (unsustainable) air flight. Through Organic products are still much more expensive than regular food. Meanwhile, the very low prices of meat (chicken, pork and beef) do not correspond with the actual high 22 23


See chapter 2.7 pages 15 and 16 Stevenson and Keehn, 2006

costs their production entails in climate change, environmental damage and public health problems. Including such costs in the sales price would be more transparent and make clear to consumers what the actual costs are. It would also allure them to buy the – then- relatively cheaper sustainably produced food. Encouraging is possible by giving sustainable producers a tax advantage, as they contribute to lower public health costs and lesser investments in water sanitation, soil repairs. A few possible encouragement measures (for National, European, North American and Australian governments) are: - Abrogate government support to unsustainable farming systems and agri-business, including the funding of scientific research into the development thereof. And including the abolishment of support of colleges that teach such approaches. - Internalisation of so called ‘external costs’ (environmental damage, public health care) in the costs of the products. Such ‘external costs’ are now being paid from tax money. - VAT regulations. The VAT for unsustainable products should be higher than for sustainably produced food, Or even consider a zero VAT for agro-ecologic produce. ‘Nudging’ is a form of encouragement. ‘Nudging’ means as much as giving a little push in the desired direction. It is a recent phenomenon in the food marketing. Supermarket chains and the larger international food groups use nudging when they put preferred sales items at eyelevel in the supermarkets. Some people find that nudging is too unnoticeable influential, thus misleading consumers. The positive aspect of nudging is that it could support the purchase of sustainably produced goods. » Exemplify. In other words: be the good example and do what you preach. Here too the government has an important role. In the Netherlands in 2008, the Government enforced organic catering in all her departments at national level. All government institutes, also at provincial and municipality level, promised to have 100% sustainable procurement in 2012, not only for food, but also for paper, computers, etc. In catering 40 % sustainable products was agreed upon. The intention was that this course of action would get a natural follow up in other sectors. Not only NGOs and consumers organisations, also business can give the good example. In Europe there is a Social Venture Network24 of smaller and bigger businesses. The members make an effort to produce more sustainably and they share their experiences amongst each other, with peer learning!

24 Social Venture Network Europe is a network of entrepreneurs, business leaders, corporate catalysts for change and non-governmental organisations dedicated to changing the way we and the world do business. creating a more just, humane and sustainable world.


» Engage. To bombard people with information about what is good for them and the environment doesn’t work. We have seen over the past 40 years that it is not effective. What does work is the engagement of communities in which people know each other or have the feeling that they are a group with a common interest, even on internet. An interesting example is the ‘Thursday Veggie Day’ in Belgium, initiated by the Ethical Vegetarian Alternative(EVA)25 responding to the demand for nice, healthy and fashionable. The campaign was quickly adopted by municipalities, who wanted to work on food policy; it then spilled over to the Netherlands. Another example of community change projects are found in the multitude of urban farming initiatives that we see nowadays in most countries in Europe. There, people in an urban area, work together to make vegetable gardens in spaces that lie waste. Apart from producing their own vegetables there is a huge social impact since people get to know each other across cultural borders. Internet communities like AVAAZ and 38 degrees also make change happen.


From regular policy making to transition policy To support transition, governments would do best to change from their regular way of policy making into transition policies. The difference between the two is most clear in next table, which gives a comparison of approaches.

Regular policy making

Transition policy making

 

      


Short-time planning (4-8 years ahead) Sectoral approach, each sector plans without thinking of the impact on other sectors. A few actors who have the lead System optimisation Customary management systems, based on control Complexity and insecurity are a problem Regular steering committee meetings Linear knowledge development

     

Long time horizon (20-50 years) Integral systems approach, getting al impacts in view, relating the external structure and effects to the internal aims and attitudes. Multi-actor approach, participatory. Sustainable systems innovation Old and new management principles, inviting for opportunities Complexity and suspense are the base. Making use of transition arena’s, networks of people that make the change together Participative experimenting, learning and exchanging insights

Ethical Vegetarian Alternative


Fig. 5. Comparison of regular and transition policies


Transition management Now of course the question comes up whether we can ‘manage’ transition at all? Manage, as in directed steering and guiding of the transition process towards an envisaged outcome ,is difficult. Because transition – a process that transforms regular ways of doing into new and as yet unknown other ways of doing - has qualitate qua an unknown outcome. However, the DRIFT26 institute introduced a transition management model to support transition processes. That model was developed for the energy transition in the Netherlands and the transition towards sustainable house-building in Flanders, Belgium. The ‘management’ of a transition consists of a few consecutive steps.  According to DRIFT, the first step is to bring together some enthusiast and influential frontrunners, not necessarily in management or leading positions, this is called the transition ARENA. They describe and discuss the complex situation. Together, they analyse the existing different views, the underlying attitudes and values. Together they decide what is necessary to come to a shared view of the future. Visionary and challenging images of the future play an important role. The jointly accepted image of the future situation works as an inspiring beacon. It is so exciting and alluring that it surmounts the anguish for the unknown and unsecure.  Next, the group decides about the ‘transition-path’. This path consists of specific steps towards the realisation of the future situation. Such steps become clear only when the stakeholders in the ‘arena’ dare to look back ( from the imagined future situation) onto the road taken to get there. Such a process yields not only the steps, but also the necessary conditions and support that is needed.  Transition Experiments financed by governments of funds give space to try out innovations of which the outcome is uncertain; especially important for individual entrepreneurs who cannot afford the experiment themselves. Another way of putting it is sponsoring the pioneers and the early adapters, knowing that about 40% will be successful.


The course of a transition process Transition is not an automatic or easy process. Real change can happen only when individual people change, as we learnt from Ken Wilber, as we saw in chapter 2.7 And this only happens when circumstances are right. Of course we can influence the occurance of ‘good circumstances’ also called ‘enabling environment’.



Dutch Research Institute for Transition, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Fig. 6. The course transition takes. After dr. Barbara van Mierlo, 21-11-2011

According to prof. Barbara van Mierlo,27 the whole transition process is about interaction between individual and group- processes. She actually takes us along in the process that occurs when you follow Ken Wilber’s concept: people change individually and learn together in a spiralled process, depicted in figure 5. New insights and knowledge develop into doing new practises, creating new ways of collaboration, new structures and even new institutions. The course of change is represented by the arrows in figure5. How does it work, this spiral development process for transition? When we look at the picture we see that, on an individual level, you get introduced to and get interested in a new approach(a); first you make that your own. (b) In a network of similarly interested individuals/ stakeholders, you exchange ideas about this approach; you learn together, in an interactive way. Then(c), on a practical level, you experiment and/or exchange experiences and/or you look how others are already doing this new thing. When you apply this new approach, this change, yourself, you behave differently; and even your role in your network changes (d). Because of you and other people behaving differently, the role of institutions start changing(e). As a result of that, social change is imminent(f) Empowerment. Figure 5 also shows that in all aspects (a) until (d) of a transition process, ‘empowerment’ is necessary. Empowerment is the increase of personal capacity to take responsible action. The question of course is: how can we support people to be aware of opportunities, to 27

Barbara van Mierlo, Assistant Professor Knowledge, Technology and Innovation Group Wageningen University


have self-confidence, to be powerful and to feel responsible? Usually ‘capacity building’ is the solution to this question. Interesting to know is that all of the frontrunners’ in the 25 Examples are self-confident, aware of opportunities, they trust their intuition and practical experience and they show personal leadership.


Transition requires us to learn from the emerging future. Otto Scharmer’s model of the U-shaped transition process28 shows us different and necessary phases. He stresses the act of co-creation, a combination of inner leadership and collaboration based on a shared goal; only then social change can happen.

Fig. 7. Otto Scharmer’s U theory Learning is not based on what we know from the past. Because we have judgements about what is good and bad. Now, we learn from the emerging future. We need to develop a sensitivity for new developments and new situations in the future that announce themselves already now, but are not always easy to recognise as such. It is in fact the art to recognise signals that allow for new development. This art is called presencing29, a combination of ‘presence’ (being present, alert, mindful in the here and now) and ‘sensing’ (feeling, listening, connecting). For presencing you need to be able to listen in different ways to others: collecting information from what you hear, focussed listening, involved 28 Otto Scharmer is the well-known author of Theory U. He works at MIT (U.S.A.) in action researcher creating innovations in learning and leadership. 29 The word presencing is coined by Peter Senge, MIT, in his theories about organisation development and change. Presence is the title of his book ( 2009).


listening, generative listening or listening to hear/ see opportunities in order to create.



To the tipping point When will all these innovative movements reach the Tipping Point? The Tipping Point is the visible materialisation of a sustainable society, the so desired ecological civilisation. When will the “New Normal” become our normal way of life? In his book “The Tipping Point” Malcolm Gladwell argues that this point will be reached when a critical mass of some 10-15% of a society is supporting a movement so that it becomes the “New Normal”. This chapter shows us how we can reach our Tipping Point.



On our way to a world which already exists. All over the world, in many countries, regions and groups of people experience what excellent impact the New Normal approaches to production and consumption have on us. We are moving into the future which has already started. In ‘The Food paradox’30 the contours are presented of a new world, which is not only possible but actually exists already31. In other words, the world of ever increasing movements to agro-ecological agriculture and good food is already there and we can participate in it. We only need to see and recognise this world and then join it. Why don’t we simply do it?


To the Tipping Point. According to Malcolm Gladwell


The food paradox concerns the facts that there is more than enough food, while there also exfor a change to agro-ecological agriculture. 31 The food paradox describes the contours of another world which is not only feasible but already exists, says the recommendation at the backside of the book.



the Tipping Point is reached when the critical mass, necessary for the transformation of the New Normal into a mainstream movement, has been reached. The question is of course how – withing so many global transitions and obstruction - we can realise this Tipping Point. The answer is: just do it! A very informative you-tube movie32 shows us how a Tipping Point can be reached and what an important role is played by courage, leadership, enthusiasm and followers. The three important factors that stimulate such growing movements are according to Gladwell (1) the law of the few, (2) the stickiness factor and (3) the power of context. All factors have to coincide to turn a trend (e.g. buying of energy efficient cars, eating meat substitutes or buying regionally grown products.) into a widely accepted movement. 1. The law of the few. Before an idea is widely supported it must be ‘lived’ by a few exemplary people. President Obama’s wife is such a person who simply lives the New Normal by starting urban gardening. According to Gladwell there are three types of people involved here: Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen. If these people confirm the new idea and promote it, there is a strong possibility for success and there is a big chance of realising the Tipping Point. Connectors are people with large networks. They usually know people across an array of social, cultural, professional, and economic circles, and make a habit of introducing people who work or live in different circles33. Bridge builders who connect and ensure crosspollination which would not take place if they were not there. By their connecting activities, organisations adopt new visions. Mavens are naturals in communication, people who have a talent for facilitating well informed decision making. They are writers of articles and books, advisors for transition processes, personal coaches who keep asking what is important for you and enthusing (team) leaders. Salesmen are people who use their uncharacteristic charisma to convince people to change their behaviour, their way of thinking, their perception and their consumer behaviour.

32 An Arena is an area of attention or subject matter, like poverty control, climate change, trade, sustainable energy or foodsupply. It is called an Arena, because a game is being played around the solutions for the problem by various actors. Wat happens outside the Arena is generally not considered and will not be included in the game. 33


2. The stickiness factor is a characteristic of a product or a concept or a way of doing something, which causes people to continue to return to it. Whether a product has a stickiness factor depends on its appealing name like Climate Smart Agriculture, that name sticks) and also depends on the social context. Stickiness develops unexpectedly, it is unconventional and opposite to logic. In Copenhagen in 2008, the weekly crate with vegetables from the region all of a sudden turned out to be very attractive; everybody wanted to have such a crate; because, you appeared to ‘belong’ to the extravagant modernist group if you also had one. It looks as if permaculture is developing a similar attractiveness, but agro-eco and agroforestry could still do with a little more of this stickiness. 3. The power of context is often more important than is generally expected. The context (ideas, social behaviour, movies, important events, world policy and awareness) creates a situation in which a phenomenon can change to popular and generally accepted behaviour. Even a small change in a social setting (the neighbourhood, a social group, a section of the population or a political party) can be an important flywheel, to reach the Tipping Point. A good – though socially and ecologically not very sustainable -example is that worldwide all the young people wear torn and bleached jeans. Why? The above explains it all. So in order to become the New Normal, all emerging movements for agroecology and smallholder farmer support still need connectors, inspiring experts and salespersons. Are you interested to use your skills in one of these fields? The possibility is there and the challenge as well. You will need courage and leadership before everything else to realise your dream.


Courage, leadership and cooperation. We’re actually not so far away anymore, from the New Normal. We have seen how the Tipping Point can be reached. It is mainly a question of changing your behaviour together. Courage, leadership and cooperation are more important than the individual case. Your own motivation as well as the motivation of your organisation are no precondition like money, manpower and time but the X factor. Your drive is the motor for the movement to the tipping point. But how do you realise that? The philosopher Ken Wilber helps us to understand the process through his integral quadrant. This shows us how changes first have to be realised inside us, in our awareness, in our attitude, before we can start implementation.


Or as Engbert Breuker34 formulates “If your head feels and your heart thinks along, your hands will automatically start doing the right things”. In Ken Wilber’s quadrant (see also fig 3, in chapter 2), the upper row represents the individual level, the lower one the collective level. The left column represents the invisible inner world of man, and is subjective. The right column is the tangible manifestation of the inner world, this column is measurable. Here change becomes visible. In the right column, the tangible reality, the new normal becomes visible. Interior

Individal 

Collective 

Exterior, materialisation

I Inspiration, personal values motivation, attitude towards nature, awareness.

IT Factual individual behaviour, projects, initiatives, investments, technologies, farming practise, books, presentations

WE Culture, the way things are done in a country/ region; how the people treat nature; regulations, collaboration, social responsibility.

THE COLLECTIVE Systems approaches, new organisational structures, decisions, integrated approaches, soil conservation, regulations to support NRM

Fig. 8. Quadrant of Ken Wilber. Source: the X-factor in spatial development

The changes in our personal awareness (the I, top left in the quadrant) become manifest and visible in the individual IT, in what we create, in wat we do, outside, in the tangible reality. This change becomes visible in farmers who change their production methods, citizens who change their consumption and shopping patterns, an employee or a director who changes the approach of a company, writers and film producers who show different concepts and ideas, in new projects, citizens’ initiatives and foundations Changes also become visible in the COLLECTIVE IT. This also happens through tangible matters, like actions that start up movements, new forms of organisation, different cooperation models such as network


Engbert Breuker; champion of human oriented entrepreneurship and chairman of Social Venture Network Nederland


organisations, multi sectoral integrated projects and a more integrated regulatory system.


How can we change and manifest the change? Learning and cooperation have changed. To create new ways of thinking and make new choices, essential learning abilities are required which depend on three skills at the same time. Make sure that they are acquired in your organisation: 1. Perception of systems and contexts (the larger entity, your company in the larger context, the culture, the interactions); rather than thinking along singular lines of action and structures. 2. Transboundary cooperation (transgressing the boundaries of departments, sectors and structures, forget about the ‘silo thinking’); 3. Creation of the desired future, instead of trying to extend old and other people’s plans, which are based on outdated prerogatives. Listening has become important: listening to the other person, give space to his or her qualities, being open for opportunities, sharing dreams. It is essential to link wat is important to the individual to what is important for the larger context in the world. So no longer work along the lines of task organisations or silo’s (agriculture next to nature next to food processing) but go for value creation through co-creation. No longer top down, but together. The ‘initiative spiral’ vii

can guide us through the different phases of the change process.

The first step is the inspirational phase. During this phase the key persons will increase the number of campaigners, educate them, make them smarter, prepare them better, so the existing regime will have to take the movements seriously. These key persons and campaigners can be found not only in the periphery or at the bottom, they are also present amongst directors and managers. The next step is the discussion (by the key persons) with the people who keep the existing system in place, the managers who have to ensure continuity and security. However, they are also the persons who have the power to change the situation. The aim is to create an opening to conduct experiments to find new solutions. To change everything at one time is not an option, you can’t go from the cellar to the attic without passing the floors in between. In the dialogue it can help to identify which solution was provided by the old way of thinking. Is another solution for this


problem possible if you take a different approach? How could the old way of thinking and acting continue for such a long time while everybody could see that we were going in the wrong direction. Which mechanisms support the old ways and is it possible to modify these progressively? What has to happen to reduce the resistance against change? Will improved alternatives, the emerging movements which develop in the niches, reduce the resistance? Is it possible to take a top down approach to stop undesirable behaviour? How can we declare a social ban on the old way of behaving? That is what the discussions on the new approach are about.


How do others support and accelerate the change? Some examples from real life companies. -

THE START OF CHANGE Start from your own power and initiative. Check of this new move fits your business’ character and ideals (Unica). Follow your heart (Bavaria). Base yourself on your own conviction, otherwise you will not succeed (Eneco). Try to pro-actively provide solutions for social issues. This way a company can keep as much control of its own context as possible (Tata Steel).

THE ROLE OF THE LEADER - Start at leadership at an individual level(FrieslandCampina). - The directors play a key role in the wider acceptance of the sustainability policy; you need to have a good presentation. (Harbour Rotterdam). - Sustainable Management has everthing to do with the universal laws of organisational development: consistent behaviour and leadership (BAM). - The message has to be consisistent and be repeated time after time (Van Gansewinkel). - Read Braungart’s book and reform your enterprise according to “Cradle to Cradle” (Desso). - Patience, let go, you can’t take everybody along at the same time. The pitfall is to be so excited, that you think everybody will become excited, but that is not the case (KLM). -


ORGANISE Do not consider Socially Responsible Entrepreneurship as a secondary activity. Do not treat initiatives as incidents (Rabobank). Organise at a small scale, related to sections of the enterprise (communities), and have coordination meetings (NS). Organise sustainable production internally and bottom-up (Philips). Analyse your organisation with help of the ‘conscious business approach’. It shows the attitudes in your team, priorities in internal and external

management, how you are connected to the inspirational source of the enterprise and to the world. But most of all it make clear to all participants how they relate to each other and what that means for the future of the organisation. - Be open for and trust new ways of collaboration; a collective of entrepreneurs can give new inspiration

EMPLOYEES - Conduct frank discussions with employees to start the way to the tipping point (Siemens). - Let people do what they like to do (Albron). - Organise the drive/passion (PGGM). - Involve employees by having them experience the difference you can make as a company, brand or person, as in the end it is people who realise the change (Unilever).


The Asilomar declaration If we haven’t done so yet, we should at least adhere to the declaration from more than 20 years ago, 1990, calling on us to make the change we are actually making right now:

The Asilomar Declaration for sustainable agriculture as formulated by the Committee For Sustainable Agriculture on 25 Januar 199035: Our current industrial agriculture has failed. We have produced abundant food and fiber. But the cost and the fragility of these successes are becoming more and more evident. Sustainable alternatives already prove their value. Not only are they more efficient in their use of energy, biological sources of fertility and pest management, they also enhance rural communities and encourage families to remain on the land. We commit ourselves to hastening the broad adoption of an agriculture that is environmentally sound, economically viable, fair, and humane. A sustainable agriculture that provides nourishing food, protects those who work the land, helps stabilize the earth's climate, and safeguards soil and water depends on our ability to meet a number of challenges. We must address these challenges without delay: Âť Promote and sustain healthy rural communities. Healthy rural communities are attractive and equitable for farmers, farm workers, and their families. The continuation of traditional values and farming wisdom 35


depends on a stable, multi-generational population. Absentee of corporate land ownership and the ever-increasing size of farms diminish rural life. » Expand opportunities for new and existing farmers to prosper using sustainable systems. We must devise ways to help people get started in sustainable farming, Reliable information on sustainable agriculture needs to be readily available to farmers, extension agents, bankers, and others. Training and apprenticeship programs should be provided for entry-level farmers and established conventional farmers interested in making the transition. Tax forgiveness or other incentives should be devised to ease the financial stress of new and transitional farmers. » Inspire the public to value safe and healthful food. The biological quality of food is known to affect the health and well-being of those who eat it. Food quality is a key factor in disease prevention. Approaches which are striving to be sustainable - such as organic farming - avoid hazardous pesticide use and maintain nutrient balance. Consumers' understanding of these facts will increase their willingness to pay prices that reflect the true costs of production. » Foster an ethic of land stewardship and humaneness in the treatment of farm animals. Sustainable agriculture recognizes that the gifts of nature upon which it depends - soil, water, plants, and animals, both wild and domestic - are to be treated with loving care and humility. The greatest calling of the farmer is to leave those gifts in better condition than when they were received. Such a responsible agriculture can only be achieved when nature is both mentor and model, and when natural systems are the standard against which success is measured. Farm animals often contribute to ecologically sound agricultural systems and they deserve humane care. » Expand knowledge and access to information about sustainable agriculture. American farmers are innovators. Given scientifically validated techniques, farmers will adopt sustainable agricultural practices. Seeing these practices in the field will speed adoption. We need demonstration farms, farmer-to-farmer field tours, and studies of successful alternative farms of all sizes. University teaching, research, and extension must be redirected toward understanding the whole farm ecology and away from chemical dependence in farm management. » Reform the relationship among government, industry, and agriculture Government must use resources such as subsidies, grants, and loans to convert significant portions of industrial agriculture to a sustainable system. Undue rewards to concentrated corporate interest should be replaces with fair returns to farmers who sustainable provide food and fiber.


Âť Redefine the role of U.S. agriculture in the global community. The present global agriculture trade is placing unnecessary pressure on the sustainability of the earth's resource base. The United States has a unique opportunity to change that situation. The people of many other countries look to us for agricultural leadership. We can honor that respect by restricting our trade in dangerous substances. We can encourage the Agency for International Development, The World Bank, and international research institutions to convert to sustainable programs. The international programs of universities can become centers of sustainability training and research.



Knowledge for transition “The world is too complex and too diverse to depend on only one knowledge-system. Let’s complement each other and learn from each other, in the realisation that each of us can only understand a part of the full truth” Darshan Shankar, FRLHT, Bangalore,India Agriculture and food production take place in an area far larger and with more than double the number of people than we (in the so called ‘developed countries’) use for agriculture. In order to boost and support economic, social and ecological viable food production worldwide, we need to stop transferring our western knowledge to the so called ‘developing countries’. Instead, we should listen to the people living in those areas, listen to their endogenous knowledge, which is based on their culture, their attitude to nature, their experience in working in their agro-ecological zone . When we do that, we discover that we need participative, integrated and complex-system-based approaches.

4.1 Introduction How you perceive a field of grassland totally depends on who you are; it depends on your cultural background, your type of education, knowledge and possibly your professional interest. When you are responsible for water system management you will notice quite different things than the nature conservationist who will look for different types of flowers and plants and maybe the number of bird nests. As a farmer you observe different things than as an urban planner; even between a regular and an organic farmer there may be quite a different perception of the same field; the regular farmer will notice if the grass is green enough and growing fast enough; the organic farmer will look at the different types of grass, the herbs, the biodiversity and the animal life in the soil. That is why - for the transition to more integrated and innovative approaches in agriculture, food production and consumption - we need to be aware of different way in which professionals from different backgrounds perceive reality. There are other knowledge systems in the world than our regular scientific western methodologies. Also, there are different Attitudes- to- Nature: different cultural-based opinions on how we should deal with nature, water, soil, animals.


The old Sufi story about the elephant and the blind men36 is a good example of the way in which we perceive the world and how we use our knowledge in daily reality.

‘Once there was a city where only blind people lived. One day, a king came to this city. He came on an elephant which caused a lot of awe, but of course the blind men could not see this elephant. So they touched the elephant to get an idea about its shape and functionalities. The man who had touched the ear said “It is a large rough thing, almost as big as a carpet”. The one who had touched the trunk said “It is straight, hollow and moving, it breathes and it scares me, and most of all it looks like a living hose”. A third one who had touched the leg said “It is strong and sturdy; it feels like a pillar or a tree”.

Short sightedness and lack of integration. The morality of this story: each of the men had understood a part of the elephant, but none of them had an idea about the entire animal. And none had taken the effort to confer with the others to integrate their experiences into a consistent picture. The same applies to us and to our knowledge systems. We are a little short sighted as we only use our own disciplinary knowledge system, our own mind-set, and assume that we can so understand and explain everything around us; we even trust that we can explain reality in other countries and in other cultures where we ‘apply’ western agricultural systems. We also have forgotten to look for linkages and coherence in what we see. Our ‘western’ mind-set does not recognize linkages any longer, since we have learned to analyse and look for details only. Furthermore, in Western civilisation we tend to be of the opinion that our reality is the only correct one.


A summary from the story in the Dutch book ‘De hele olifant in beeld’ (Do we have the Whole Elephant in the Picture?) by Vries, 2007.


4.2 Transformation of knowledge for agriculture and food. So we need a transformation, not only in agricultural systems management, but also in attitude and in the ways we deal with knowledge. In the past sixty years we have seen a gradual change in the development and transfer of knowledge by agricultural scientists. Parallel to this we see that policy makers and politicians involved in agriculture-and-food have shown a similar change in attitude on how to deal with knowledge development, management and extension. Mainly because they rely on western science as the only institution that tells the truth. Just after the second world war, ‘knowledge’ was directed in a top-down manner from scientists (and governments) towards farmers in the western world (Europe and the United States). Similarly, knowledge was transferred from the well-to-do North to less-better-off countries in the South. Between 1950 and 2010 a number of phases can be distinguished.37 Fortunately, the direction of this change is more and more towards dealing with complex social and agricultural systems. Unfortunately, in our ways of looking at and solving problems, our Western disintegrated way of thinking is still the guiding principle.


Three phases of knowledge management between 1950 and 2010. Innovation phase 1.0. Top down knowledge transfer. Roughly between 1950 and 1995, in the period after WW II and during the Cold War, knowledge transfer was aimed at producing enough food for everyone and - therefore – at increasing and intensifying agricultural production. We shouldn’t forget that the lack of food, plus regular disasters, 38

poverty and working conditions in agriculture , were underlying reasons for the outbreak of WW II. So in that era we see a top-down transfer of mainly - very much neededtechnical knowledge and technology to improve the situation. The traditional view of innovation in agriculture was, and still is, that it is linear, with agricultural research generating technologies that are transferred by extension workers to farmers. This top-down approach was very effective and very well organised in agricultural Research, agricultural Extension services and agricultural Education. The farmers (in the Western world and elsewhere) gained knowledge from the new ideas which science was developing. 37

After a lecture by Jim Woodhill, CDI, November 2011 Reference is made to the movie Novecento, which gives a good impression of the pre-war conditions in the rural areas of Italy 38


There were three underlying assumptions that caused this top-down approach to become severely criticized.39 The assumptions are:: 1. Innovation and improving market competitiveness are per definition ‘good’ ; the worldwide suitability of the Western agricultural methods is not under discussion 2. ‘Official’ science is the only legitimate source of knowledge and the driver of innovation. 3. The views, needs and knowledge of innovation of end-users need not be taken into consideration Innovation phase 2.0. Development of participatory and interdisciplinary knowledge systems (1995-ongoing). Participatory knowledge development took off in the developing countries already since 1975. Why so early? It was a direct reaction to the conventional Western agricultural research, extension and education, when these appeared to have a poor understanding of the support requirements for the wide diversity of cultures and ecosystems in Africa, Asia and South America. Imagine, in 1975 we were still in the middle of Innovation phase 1.0. Thus, Western knowledge, ideas, convictions and the related models were transferred and applied to the rest of the world. Sometimes it did work out but in as many cases it did not work out at all. If it did not work out, the explanation was that ‘the traditional farmers were not open to change’. Anyway, it gradually became clear that Western methods do not work in situations where water supply is irregular, where markets do not function, where transport is inadequate or non-existent, where nature is vulnerable and the cultural values of the local population have different priorities. So the only solution really was to involve the local stakeholders to find out what would work! So the multi-stakeholder and participative approaches developed.40 In Western Europe such participatory and interdisciplinary approaches only came up belatedly around 1995, with the so called ‘integrated rural development’. This came mostly as a consequence of development workers returning from developing countries, introducing this approach in Europe. Another contributing factor was that also in Europe the mono-disciplinary approaches for optimizing agricultural production didn’t work out. Farmers got often opposing instructions from different government agencies (who were thinking in silo’s) and had to integrate all regulations on farm level;

39 40


Dosi 1988 Participative approaches, such as like Rapid Rural Appraisal

with a risk of getting fined by one institution for an activity that was laid up by another institution. There was a need for integration at regional level. From the nineties onwards the role of social sciences - such as business administration and public management, organisational development, social innovation and interdisciplinary approaches - becomes more important in (Western/Northern) agricultural science and agricultural policy. However, it still is a slow process, with the so-called ‘production sciences’ (agriculture, livestock breeding, plant production and cultivation including genetic technology, horticulture, food processing and crop protection) getting most of the government’s and investors’ budgets. The main drive of scientific research and agricultural policy in this period of time (1995-ongoing) is directed towards stimulating innovations to optimise and improve existing industrial production systems and the economy at large. Innovation phase 3.0. Systems innovation Systems Innovation is an approach that is being introduced since about 2007. Systems innovation implies a structural change of the (social and agricultural) system itself, towards a locally desired situation or agenda ; such a transition is a radical change, like the change of a chrysalis into a butterfly. The ‘system’ can be a farm, a cooperation of farmers, a production chain, a rural area or a watershed area, a consumer group. With system innovation, all actors involved in the system play a role. Actors such as farmers, women in particular, private enterprises, larger enterprises, organisations and governments. As a result of the type of interactions(1), the rules of the game (2) and the enabling? conditions (3), the parties involved can develop the required action to change the wise use (opposed to exploitation) of (natural) resources. Facilitation of the process. Because of the character of transition, the move to something unknown, the interactive process, the every time different situation, a transition cannot be steered in a singular direction as we were used to in the top-down way of doing. A system innovation is totally dependent on the stakeholders involved. But, the process can be facilitated, supported and strengthened through various methods and processes. Co-creation. Catalysts41 can assist such system-change processes in recognising the (enabling) context, new opportunities and activities; they 41

A catalysts in a chemical process is a substance that accelerates the process. So experienced process-managers, taking stakeholders along in co-creation or in Otto charmer’s U process, or in a Theory of Change workshop, can be called Catalysts. They can


can name and promote them. The process in which such cooperation leads to a solution is called co-creation. The change in the system is called social innovation, because a structural change is effectuated in a society of human beings, which is also a system. Networks. A very good instrument for local, sustainable innovation to take place is the organisation of Learning and Innovation networks for sustainable agriculture. They are networks of producers, users, experts, CSO’s local administration, universities, NGO’s etc. Together they create mutual engagement around certain sustainability goals in their area. For such apurpose they share and produce knowledge, they create conditions for communication, share resources and cooperate on common initiatives. The most important aspect is that the parties involved are required to be sympathetic towards the various worldviews of other parties in the network. In other words, the actors should be open to listen to others and they should be open to the perceptions behind their own and other people’s motives and words. It is about respect for every participant’s interests and qualities. The next paragraphs show us how we can change from the traditional, topdown knowledge transfer to co-creation42 in the domains of agriculture, food production, food supply and management of natural resources.

4.4 Different knowledge systems. Knowledge of agriculture is knowledge of life. In the COMPAS 43

programme, location-specific learning systems in fifteen ‘Southern’ countries were subjected to an assessment. It turned out that agriculture is not a specialist activity in these areas, but part of life. Children grow up with feeding, raising, herding and slaughtering animals. Agriculture, food production and consumption, health and sickness, festivities, childbirth and death, spiritual activities and the exchange of goods and services are all interdependent. In most Southern countries, agriculture is a way of life, a community based way of life; also dealing with a larger entity, the whole do a lot towards mutual repsect and understanding of the stakeholders, and thereby guide and accelerate the process to a shared agenda or plan. 42 Co-creation is a type of cooperation in which all participants have an impact on the process and its outcome; that could be a plan, a recommendation or product. Co-creation is characterised by dialogue, 'common ground', enthusiasm, decisiveness and result. Conditions for successful co-creation are equality among the participants, reciprocity, transparency and confidence. This situation is best realised in a structured but creative process which is supported by a process coach. Integrity of the participants is a must. Cocreation is a proven method for finding a solution for complex problems and the realisation of changes. 43 Compas: Comparing and supporting endogenous sustainable development. 2000-2012,


natural system, in which knowledge, religion, life and social relationships are fused. This is very different from agriculture in Western society, where agriculture has become a separate profession of a few individuals and industries, no longer connected to the daily life of 95 % of the population. Agriculture has even been divided into different specialized sectors such as horticulture (with even a subdivision in open field and green-house growing), cattle raising, cattle breeding, dairy, animal fattening, fodder and feed production, meat production and food processing. Each of these sectors is being scientifically studied without a link to society, without links to health or cultural values of life. Children and many adults do now know where milk, meat and fish come from other than the supermarket. Are we aware of such different attitudes to agriculture in the rest of the world? Do we ever realise (in the relatively rich North/ West where we feel that we should ‘plan’ the food supply and food security) that the area covered by agricultural land in ‘developing countries’ is far larger than in the North and the West? And are we aware that the number of persons involved in food production in those areas is even much larger then all agribusiness and farmers in the North/West together? Are we aware that all those people have a different perception of the world, of agriculture and of food, which most of the time is related to their social and cultural values? Agriculture and food security are part of their self-sustaining life-system! Life is a holistic reality and agriculture is part of it. In most developing countries, reality is not just the result of a bio-physical and technical construction as it seems to be in the western world. It is part of a larger cohesive system: a material, social and spiritual whole. In South America this larger reality is ’Pachamama.’ It is the relation with and respect for Mother Earth. You return to her what you’ve received from her, in material, social and spiritual cycles. Rituals, sacrifices and festivals are important in the relationship with Pachamama (which is the agri-cultural use of the earth’s resources). In West Africa the larger cohesive system is expressed in the relationship with the ancestors and the progeny. You are linked to this larger entity, to the soil where you were born and where your ancestors are buried, to Nature which feeds mankind and shelters the spiritual world. In West Africa, decisions on important issues including food are only taken after consultation of the ancestors through rituals conducted by the elders and priests.


In India the larger reality is conceived as a coherence of different expressions of the spiritual and material world. Vedic agriculture is related both to human health and the good treatment of the soil. Meditation and spiritual exercises are important, also in growing food. An example: In West Africa a reforestation project was scheduled to prevent desertification, provide fodder (leaves, branches) and generate income by processing of the fruits at the same time. The trees were supplied free of charge, assistance and advice was provided, but the project turned out a failure. Why? 1.

A tree is not just a tree; it is home to a spirit, so planting a tree is a spiritual activity. Special trees house special spirits, often ancestors; the exotic trees in the project had no spiritual value and were thus less important.


Planting a tree, a spiritual activity, requires spiritual assistance to connect you to the spirit of this tree, the more so because the spirit will help you with your harvest and protect your children. When this issue was identified, a meeting was conducted with the village elders and after their approval the trees were planted under the supervision of a spiritual leader. Trees which were planted under this approach had a survival rate of ninety per cent, while from the trees of the previous lot only ten per cent escaped drought and grazing.


2. 3.


Blind Spot. People from North America, Europe, Australia and China have (generally speaking) a collective blind spot when dealing with types of knowledge that are not the regular Western knowledge they are used to. This is demonstrated in three ways: Our traditional ‘western’ knowledge originates from a rationalisticmaterialistic model which prevents us to see that knowledge in other cultures is often holistic and culturally adapted. We just do not see that their knowledge systems include cultural values in the way they observe and do things. We need other ‘glasses’ so to say. We generally have very little interest in other knowledge systems. We are still preaching the Green Revolution, meaning a combination of High External Input44 agriculture and a top-down transfer of our knowledge to the other parties. Instead of stimulating the use of the locally available biodiversity, local knowledge, natural cycles and social systems to create an ecological and social resilient system.

High External Input or high investments in the local agro-ecosystem, originating outside the system. This involves energy, seed, fertilizer, water and pesticides which all require additional Money, which is often not available



So we need to learn to use different glasses to look at reality. Or in other words different Attitudes to Nature. The next paragraph is revealing.

4.5 Attitudes decide about agricultural practises 45

The Dutch philosopher Wim Zweers distinguishes six ‘Attitudes towards Nature’. This book describes five of them. Formally, in philosophy terminology, those attitudes are no all-embracing world visions, for which reason he calls them attitudes: ways in which we relate to our surrounding nature, including earth, climate, oceans, plants and animals From these different attitudes follow the different ways we decide about and deal with nature, including the way we grow crops and provide for our food. You can easily recognise the various attitudes in yourself, your friends and family, organisations and in political views. You may have a specific Attitude toward Nature that differs with attitudes of people in other countries, attitudes in your own country and even with attitudes to food within yourself, depending on your role of that moment. You may have a different Attitude to nature when you are in your role and behavious of a consumer looking for cheap food than when you feel a responsible citizen caring for the fish in the oceans. Your Attitude of that moment is decisive for the type of fish you buy.

The Attitudes- toward- Nature are: 1. Almighty ruler. From this point of view, Nature has to be tamed and


Wim Zweers, Participeren aan de natuur, Ontwerp voor een ecologisering van het wereldbeeld, 1995. ISBN 978 90 6224 342 6. Translation: Participate in Nature, design for a more ecological worldview.


modified according to our ideas, in order to meet our economic interests or to give us pleasure. “We know best!” is the slogan that fits this attitude. This attitude is predominant in e.g. the design of the gardens of Versailles, in a circus where animals perform what we want them to do, in making polders, in genetic modification of seed, in pig-raising industries where the pig is not treated as a living being any more(rather as ‘meat being grown and processed’), in growing roses in developing countries exploiting and spoiling their water, and in the construction of large dams and reservoirs. 2. Enlightened ruler. In this role we still direct and modify nature towards our benefit, but we show sense and consideration. We do not overfish the seas but make sure that sufficient stock remains for propagation. We cut trees but will also plant new ones as this will be beneficial in the end. We plant trees in cities to catch the dust and thus improve our living conditions. We modify nature in a sustainable way, meaning that it will last for a while for our own benefit. 3. Custodians of Nature. With this attitude we feel that we need to take care of Nature, that we are responsible, as we believe that Earth, or Nature, has been given to us in custody, by a higher being or for a higher purpose. This purpose can be the survival of Earth, Gaia46, or it can be “enabling generations after us to continue living on this planet.” This attitude can be found with organisations like the WWF and the Forestry Commission, National Parks etc. The so-called ecosystem services47 in agriculture are also representative for this attitude. Because with ecosystem services the idea is that - if we want to take care of the earth in a sustainable way - we have to maintain biodiversity, even in an industrial agriculture situation. So agriculture has to deliver some ‘services’ to nature, next to producing Food, Fiber and Fun.48 4. Partner of Nature. The partner doesn’t place himself above Nature, as in the previous three attitudes, but next to it. This implies that we – as peoples - live together with Nature (plants, animals, and earth), we are partners. Being a good partner (as among human beings) means that we 46

Gaia is a goddess in Greek mythology. She is the primeval mother; her Roman name is Terra. Gaia and Terra are often used to indicate that our earth with her resources of water, nature, woods animals and natural systems has a divine character, which should be respected and cannot be messed around with. 47 Ecosystem services are used to indicate subsidies. They are the services a farmer will render to improve or manage the ecosystems on his farm for which he will receive compensation. These services may range from adapted water management, flower borders along the fields and protection of bird nests by placing fences. 48 Fun in the three FFFs being the umbrella word for all the agricultural products that allow the consumers in the ‘developed’ world to enjoy themselves, with for example fuels made from food crops (maize) and flowers grown on soils in developing countries where food for local consumption could have been grown instead.


make a big effort to accommodate each other: we take and we give as real partners do. We develop together, in mutual dependency and mutual care, aiming for a high quality of life: We contribute to Nature and She will contribute to us. This partner attitude we find in organic agriculture, conservation agriculture and in the restoration of nature in large river basins. As organisations go, Greenpeace can be seen as a prime example of this partner attitude; they cannot accept that others destroy the Earth (their partner if you will) as a result of some people’s almighty ruler attitude. Conflicts between Green Peace and such other organisations are in fact conflicting attitudes. Where land use is involved, the partner wants to develop soil fertility. He thinks many generations ahead and wants to incorporate control over the soil and the enterprise in a continuous and transferable structure, preferably in partnership with committed consumers. 5. The Participant considers himself part of Nature. His role towards Nature is serving, facilitating, supportive. The idea is that Nature contains enormous wisdom and sets the example. From this viewpoint, agriculture has to be done in a natural way; it follows Nature as closely as possible. Agricultural practises with mixed cropping, cover crops and a focus on ecological design are common in people and organisations with this attitude. Protection of Nature is an important goal, also in agriculture. Out of principle, a participant farmer will use as little mechanisation, technology and fossil fuel as possible. The permaculture movement is an example of this attitude, and the Pachamama culture too. Where soil management is concerned, the participant does not want centrally organised ownership or involvement, but local collective land use or regional nutrient management for regional subsistence. The participant is oriented towards the very long future and supports permanent soil fertility. Changing attitudes. Zweers argues that a change is taking place in the number of people who feel at home with a certain attitude. Over the past three centuries, we – in the Western world - used to live by the first three attitudes, but now - in this new millennium - we are moving towards the more holistic and system-aware attitudes 4 and 5, which contribute to a more sustainable world. This may be wishful thinking, but the examples in this book and the mainstreaming of agro-ecology movements (in chapter 14) seem to confirm his view.



And what does this mean for sustainable agriculture and food? In her (participative) study on forest management in an area of West Africa, Heleen van Haaften49 discovered that no cooperation existed between timber companies, the forest ecology researchers and the local population. Even worse, there was a situation of absolute distrust. She examined the parties involved on their respective attitudes-to -nature, which turned out to be, respectively, Almighty ruler, Custodian and Part of Nature. The difference in attitude explained the misunderstandings and the anger about each other’s activities. One could also say that the conflicts were intercultural. The stakeholder’s cultures didn’t match; they could not understand each other and they didn’t even try. This real example show us that sustainable development requires that we are open to the attitude of other stakeholders (better than the blind people and the elephant) in order to get a common understanding of the issues at hand. After that, you can develop multi-party solutions. So it turns out that one’s way of learning, of knowledge sharing and of doing agriculture is related to one’s world vision, culture or Attitude-to Nature. This not only goes for people in developing countries, where we need to be aware of existing endogenous knowledge in the various cultures. No, the different cultures and Attitudes- to- Nature, and related approaches to agriculture and food, are just as much existent in our ‘western’ world. 50

Your world vision, your perception of the world, your Attitude- toNature, is significant and decisive for your actions, for your way of thinking, how you value things and how you decide about them. If you are an enlightened ruler, you will act advice, learn, farm, do research or make policies quite differently from when you are a partner of nature. - So, if your (Western) world vision is materialistic and individualistic and consequently you have the attitude of an almighty ruler, you will learn and manage knowledge accordingly in a materialistic and individualistic way, steering top down, knowing better than anybody else and looking for your own or your company’s benefits only, and rather on the short term. Your approach to farming and food will be just the same. - If you have an anthroposophist worldview, a partner attitude, you will think, work and learn in organic entities, you respect animals and plants and you grow, buy and eat food related to that perception . - If you have a Pachamama world view, the participant in Nature attitude, you think and work in interaction with the Earth; the 49

Heleen van Haaften †2012, thesis 2002. Your perception of the world in the way it appears to you, naturally: in the landscape, in the way it is organised (socially, economically and who is influential) in the way you deal with food and health. 50


knowledge you gain and share is in accordance with this interactive system.


Transformation of regular knowledge-transfer into co-creation. Transition, to Agro-Ecology, to integrated landscape approaches, to conservation agriculture and permaculture, is already taking place. Mostly by the people and organisations with a Partner-of-Nature attitude. Organisations in the ‘enlightened ruler’ mode look quite suspiciously to such developments, as they are not sure if it is threatening them. So how can we mainstream the transition from regular linear knowledge-transfer to differentiated, region-specific ways of learning. Otherwise said, how can we learn to do co-creation: developing region-specific approaches by sharing explicit and implicit knowledge and experience? Here are some clues: Respect for relationships. If, in other cultures, personal or community development and respect for the larger reality are guiding principles, we, as outsiders, have to respect this. Not out of idealism, but because their way of dealing with the larger reality has an impact on food production, international cooperation and global sustainability. Even if you think it is nonsense, you still have to deal with it. It is not advisable to ignore their knowledge systems and their ideas about reality as it is not possible to have real exchange and cooperation without this respect. Avoiding traps. There are two major traps in international cooperation in our perception of their knowledge. They are (1) the automatism to consider local knowledge as irrelevant and (2) the idealisation and idolization of this local knowledge, making it a tourist attraction. Local knowledge has its strong as well as its weak points. Cooperation would open the way towards strengthening the strong points, propose them to others and to improve the weak points. The latter can be achieved by improving the internal learning processes and international exchange. Be aware of role play. What occurs in development assistance is a role play. The same can be said for the Western companies interested in rendering their production chains more sustainable and entering into discussions with the local producers (contract farming) towards this end. The people there will just join the game of the Westerners. “Do you want to give money? Welcome! Do you want to plant trees, improve roads, build clinics? No problem, as long as it does not cost us anything.” They will agree to everything because of the ephemeral benefits. Only at certain (holy) places they will object. Or for some inexplicable reason it will not be accepted. This


is because they have not (yet) integrated the modernistic approaches into their own value system. They will play along as long as it is not harmful. Ask the right questions. In the Dutch financed assistance-programme CAPTURED,51 universities in Ghana, Bolivia and India are cooperating to adapt research and education to the specific local knowledge in each country. In this programme, in each specific culture, an answer was sought to the following questions. - What is important for you when dealing with land, land ownership, land use, water, education? What is important in sharing resources, health, sickness, religion, government, justice, responsibility? - How do you perceive sustainable development? - Which factors are important when you have to make decisions about crops, investments, soil-management? From the answers you will know what is needed and which actors may do what! A better understanding of holistic approaches and complex systems is important for sustainable development and food security.


Listening. It is always more effective for any outsider (advisor, researcher, agribusiness entrepreneur, government office) to listen to the local farmers, than to broadcast your own views. Why? Because those farmers have specialist knowledge on their soils, the water system, the relations between soil, plants and animals, their ecosystems so to say, the land use regulations and the social/ traditional do’s and don’ts. They know about prevention of pests, climate and the position of food in society. Their type of agriculture is dependent on ecological, economic and cultural conditions, which can only be recognised through careful observation and listening. Even when dealing with farmers in England, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Poland, when they have a different view than the regular linear, materialistic worldview, you better listen to them, as their systems- approach may work better. Questions and experiments. In order to work - in collaboration - towards a more sustainable agriculture and resource management, we need a mode of knowledge development that is different from our western habitual practises. We need to listen and ask instead of instruct and change. We need to ask questions on their practical experience, their needs and ideas, their experience of what works and what not. The next step is to conduct 51 52

50 This was one of the outcomes of the COMPAS programme.

experiments to find answers to the questions and suggestions that the farmers have in cooperation with local specialists and the farmers themselves. In this way participatory approaches such as RRA (Rapid Rural Appraisal), PTD (Participatory Technology Development) and RAAKS (Rapid Appraisal of Agricultural Knowledge Systems) were developed. Shut up and listen! And never come up with your own suggestions. This is 53

what Ernest Sirolli teaches us in his TedX talk (September 2012) on development cooperation, a very interesting ‘must see’ presentation! The population of an area, whether in the North or in the South, know best what their opportunities and limitations are and what can be realised.

Fig. 9. Shut up and listen! Don’t give advice but listen to what they need, in order to realise their dreams. Only then plan the required actions – together! - and facilitate and support; that is what matters. This approach is also known as kitchen table talks, which used to be conducted in the Netherlands between a neutral extension agent (no longer existing) and a farmer and his wife. In this private atmosphere, dreams could be put on the table and solutions and opportunities exchanged.

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A new knowledge-base for sustainable farming practises. The above approaches have, since their worldwide application in the past 20 years, generated a knowledge base for various types of eco-regionspecific agriculture or agro-ecology, with examples of sustainable farming practices. The definition of agriculture in this case is very wide. It encompasses production of food and fibres (wool, cotton, straw and rushes for clothing and construction) in a sustainable interaction between nature, agriculture and water. This mostly practical and experiential knowledge covers various aspects of agriculture:



Use of local seeds,54 because they are resistant against pests and droughts. They may not produce maximum yields but do give a yield guarantee and thus food security.


Intercropping. Several crops are grown together in one plot instead of a single crop. The more permanent plant cover will help to prevent erosion and the different plants will have a positive interaction as they have different needs regarding soil depth, amount of sunlight and nitrogen requirements. A good mix of crops will help to realise healthy and stable yields as we have seen in the example of the German farmer in 25 Examples


Agroforestry. Crops, trees and cattle holding are mixed together. Trees will provide shade, fuel and construction wood, cattle feed, drugs, they will stop erosion and fix nitrogen. Worldwide there is a sharp increase in agroforestry.


Water harvesting. Through the construction of semi-permeable bunds along the contour lines of the farmland, the runoff of often scarce rainfall is delayed and fertile soil particles will be kept in place and not wash out to the river. This will increase available nutrient and thus the yields.


The use of organic pesticides which are directly available, leaves of trees, tobacco, garlic, baobab fruit and pyrethrum55 are some of the pesticides which can be used.


Improvement of the micro climate though the construction of windbreaks and water reservoirs


Terrace construction prevents erosion and makes irrigation possible which will create the possibility of sustainable agriculture in mountainous areas.

A new development is Seeds without Borders. Kokopelli Seed Foundation was created in December 2003 by Dominique Guillet to build a link from Europe's Association Kokopelli to North America, the purpose of Association Kokopelli being to provide access to openpollinated seeds as a way to alleviate hunger and promote sustainable food security. 55 Pyrethrum is a natural insecticide which is made from the dried flowers of Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium and Chrysanthemum coccineum from the genus Chrysanthemum, which is cultivated in the old world (China) for its decorative flowers.



Health care for animals (and people) with local drugs is a specialisation which is well developed in many areas of the world but is not acknowledged by the Western scientist. These local drugs, however, are often very effective and friendly for the environment


Use of non-conventional crops and animal species. We do not have to limit ourselves to the five most important crop and animal species. By using a larger number of species we can create food security in different ecological zones, especially in areas with extreme climate, soil and water conditions.


Use of a local natural fertilizer; that could be made from stone-meal or rockdust56 with cow dung. It could be a local compost. It could be bio-fermented compost. It is cheaper and mostly better than chemical fertilizer.


Integrated landscape development. In a participative way all stakeholders are involved in the development of a whole region. An interesting development is the landscapes-for-people-food-and-nature programme; they publish regularly in a blog.

4.9 Conclusions. After this exploration of attitudes to nature / world visions and their impact on our way of thinking, learning, developing knowledge and on how we act in relation to agriculture, food production and sustainable development, a number of conclusions can be drawn: We must and we can change our ‘knowledge-system’ into more integrative approaches. We need to understand complex systems and change the way we look at the world. We can learn to integrate different perceptions of reality, especially when it concerns agriculture and food production and the way we deal with soils and with people living and working on the land. We can learn from each other, in scientific research, in agribusiness, in farming development work and- not in the least - in exchanges between those fields of work. Our perceptions and attitude influence how we look at things, how we think and judge, how we take decisions and how we value different types of agro-ecosystems . Our belief system decides about what is – in our opinion - economical or fair. So we must respect other peoples’ attitudes and belief systems when we want to collaborate on sustainable agricultural systems. Different religions, cultures and attitudes are connected to their own knowledge and agri – cultural systems. We must accept that the Western knowledge system is only one of many knowledge systems. Of course, over centuries a lot of investment has been 56


More information on

done in this knowledge system , which has resulted in many books, prosperity and schools; but it is not necessarily better than other knowledge systems and cannot be applied everywhere. Do not make the mistake to think that Western knowledge is the only knowledge around. This would result in the non-acceptance of alternative knowledge systems (African, South American, Ayurveda, bio-dynamic, homeopathy) in the world. We can serve the world better - and so contribute to sustainable development and food security - if we can use and apply different knowledge systems and if we SHUT UP and listen to the farmers. Integrative approaches. Various advocates for sustainability and sustainable development, like Wim Zweers, Niels Röling,57 Richard Bawden58 (content in endnoteviii) and Klaas van Egmond, urge us to move towards more connectedness, more holistic approaches and more system-thinking. The reason for that is that such approaches can bring about co-creation in projects and science. When there are differences in the approaches we should be sharing each other’s strong points. Thinking and working from a complex systems’ view, with holistic approaches, from a partner-of- Nature attitude, will result in agriculture and food production based on regional value systems. With co-creation you develop a communal field. So the question is: “How can I create the right conditions for co-creative change or innovation?” In this case it concerns the development of collective competence, which is badly needed in many organisations and partnerships. Networks. A very good instrument for local, sustainable innovation to take place is the organisation of Learning and Innovation networks for sustainable agriculture. They are networks of producers, users, experts, CSO’s local administration, universities, NGO’s etc. Together they create mutual engagement around certain sustainability goals in their area.


See his book Wheelbarrows Full of Frogs: Social Learning in Rural Resource Management Systems thinking and practices in the education of agriculturalists, RJ Bawden 1984 A research paradigm for systems agriculture. RJ Bawden 1985; Learning to be a capable systems agriculturalist, 1984. Google RJ Bawden systems in agriculture to find articles. 58



Past the Tipping Point The future that we desire invites us to take the required steps to realise it, to make the transition happen. But how do we do this? How do we identify 59 these steps, this road to the future? Joseph Jaworski, the formulator of 60 the first Shell scenarios, says this, “At a level that cannot be observed by 61 us, there is an un-fractured wholeness, an implicit order from where seemingly independent events originate. All human beings are part of this un-fractured wholeness, which continuously expands. One of our responsibilities in life is to be open for this expansion, which in time will enable us to perceive and implement these new realities.” Scenarios can be used to give a positive turn to the future, to make the world a safer place for diversity.

5.1 Facing the challenge The future challenges us. Face it and accept the challenge. Start working from possibilities and opportunities, from your position in the world connected to the world. We apply the lessons learned. The lessons of the derailed agricultural systems, for instance, have taught us that we should look at agriculture from a complex systems point of view. The new knowledge has taught us how we can be aware of other attitudes to nature. Which steps will we take when we start using the ‘keys’, the examples that have been handed to us by the pioneers? At every position in society, you can use your drive to contribute to the emerging future; starting from the ‘I’ position in Ken Wilber’s quadrant, making the change visible in the collective It’. You can contribute as a citizen or a consumer, as an individual farmer, as a farmers’ cooperative, as a policy officer in an organisation, the government, or as a politician, you name it.


Looking back from 2030 Looking back from 2030 we see what has happened and which major actions we needed to undertake to make the Tipping Point happen:



Land. Governments and donor organisations managed to invest a lot in greening the deserts, sustainable land management, sustainable river basin development

J. Jaworski (2000) ‘Synchronicity, the inner path to leadership’ “The Shell approach is an important basis for transforming scenario planning” according to Adam Kahane, Associate Fellow, Saïd Business School, Oxford University. 61 An implicit orderliness similar to the quantum vision of the University as described by Bohm 60




We restored soil fertility and concentrated on carbon instead of nitrogen. This is the New Normal for farmers, in industry, in the international agribusiness, with governments and NGO’s.


At farm level we promoted restoration of production cycles and complex natural agro-ecological systems. We changed to integrated or holistic management, all over the world, also in the international agribusiness.


Smallholder farmers. Many programmes supported smallholder farmers with access to small scale technologies and training..


Companies, Industries and governments changed their policies in order to reduce land use and water consumption per unit of product.


Between 2016 and 2020, the financial crisis intensified. New value 62 systems developed as well as regional money. Existing cooperation networks and institutions modified their organisations in a much more drastic manner than we could have imagined, in say 2008. This institutional transformation was the key to the successes in 2030.


Between 2017 and 2020, there was a re-organistion of the world market for food. Especially in Africa and South America, more food was produced for local consumption.


Citizens started buying with greater awareness, between 2015 and 2025; they understood that they have an impact on the production methods by their choices for socially and ecologically grown, regionally produced food.


Gradually the change to mixed cropping patterns happened. There is now more regional food production and regional self-sufficiency in food


Internationally, development assistance and the international agribusiness started to work together, agribusiness supporting local and regional food self sufficiency in the South.


All over the world we called a stop to desertification. Through intensified sustainable land management programmes and watershed management; through permaculture; agro-forestry; and other agroecological approaches. This was done in a participative manner, with the farmers as stakeholders in the development of projects. The World Bank and other major international donors and NGOs supported this approach.


Policy making strongly supported sustainable agro-ecological principles. The choice for this type of agriculture is permanent and cannot be turned back again. Agro-ecology fits well with the (economic) regional

A value system is an entity of values, opinions, standards - in a society or community – which is expressed in a way of living.


cluster approach and the integrated landscape approaches that are being advertised since 2010.


How did we manage this? Personal leadership appeared to be the basis for all structural change: we supported what is really important, we engaged people, we supported and we became followers of the New Normal movement. From ‘I’ to ‘We’. We linked individual and business interests to work for the greater whole, and the world. This was only possible as a result of value driven leadership; by a change in regulations (the rules of the game!); by long term planning based on ecological principles and a circular economy; and by increased awareness with consumers, employers, employees, politicians and law givers. All were inspired by their individual drives and examples of others. Smallholders in Africa, Asia and South America made a direct transition to sustainable types of eco-agriculture, climate conscious and conservationbased agricultural practises. Of course they were supported worldwide to change to more sustainable practices by practice-oriented research, by lots of model farmers and peer learning, and also because the extension services got a real boost. At the same time, cooperation between large commercial enterprises and small scale farmers were realised. Restoration of regional cycles (of nutrients, water and money) and of complex agro-ecological systems. Through integrated projects in the fields of water, soil and energy, problems that still existed in 2015 were efficiently tackled from a landscape point of view. In developing countries, NGO’s, governments and institutions of knowledge worked together and started copying and distributing sustainable examples and case studies, instead of exporting western knowledge with its related problems. Examples, such as the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) from Madagascar; the successful restoration of the Loess plateau in China; the Soil & More project in South Africa; and the example of Cuba63 and the Holistic Management for grazing lands as developed by Allan Savory. Mutual understanding. The endless, hateful, discussion about the relative efficiency of large scale mechanised agriculture compared to small scale low input agriculture died somewhere in 2015. It is now accepted that both types of agriculture are necessary. Wheat and other grain production in the USA are still managed by large-scale enterprises, but in a more ecological


"After the break-up of the Soviet Union, Cuba lost 70% of agrochemical and fuel imports and 50% of livestock feed imports," explains Julia Wright, deputy director of the Centre for Agroecology and Food Security at Coventry University. "It couldn't produce those inputs itself, and since then Cuba has developed some fine examples of ecological agriculture."


manner. Fruits and vegetables are produced on small farms, thus creating a lot of employment. Countries in development now benefit from the development of small-scale mechanisation practices. Everywhere in the world, organic practices for soil improvement are in use. Governments created an enabling environment for the further development of sustainable agriculture. For industrial agriculture, the impact on the environment and public health will be incorporated into the price of the product under the slogan ‘the polluter pays’. Organic, ecological and cyclical agricultural products will thus become cheaper. Governments in developing countries obliged the donor countries to make agro-ecology and soil health management part and parcel of their development programmes. Governments and donors invested in farmer oriented and/or participatory driven agricultural research. Local interests, citizens and groups in society will have a major say in the research and agricultural projects to be conducted. Where organic and chemical innovations are involved, their impact on soil, water and health of man and animals will be thoroughly investigated. The social and economic implications of these innovations will be discussed with all stakeholders. Donors and Funding agencies invested in scaling up of good local practises and innovations on the condition that attention was paid to land rehabilitation and soil health management. Sustainable agribusiness. The large dominant food companies made a change; their new directions became 1) biodiversity, 2) agro-ecological regional development or development of multifunctional agricultural landscapes (no more asparagus from exploited Peruvian farmers for the European market), 3) restoration of water and nutrient cycles, 4) inclusive and socially responsible business. Sustainable chains. Consumers and many other ‘links’ in the value chain realised a substantial reduction of food losses. Every link ensured that, at the source of the food chain, production took place in an ecological and socially responsible way. In the future labels will present the ecological footprint of a product, including its water consumption. From transfer of knowledge to co-creation. Science, institutes of knowledge and the business community changed from transfer of knowledge to co-creation of experiential knowledge. They supported the transformation to sustainable agro-ecosystems by practice driven research, with integrated system approaches, facilitation of transitions and the application of ecological principles in agriculture. The exchange of practical experience amongst farmers’ networks was supported and strengthened.


Cooperation between farmers and businesses got a more long-term character. Courageous policy and courageous leadership were required to protect and re-introduce agro-ecological principles. Policy and leadership broke with short-termism and created the right conditions for agro-ecological practices, especially so in Western agriculture. Driven by necessity this was first realised in Cuba. In principle it concerns a transition from a fossil fuel driven economy to a green economy. All of us took the 1990 Asilomar declaration to heart. The recommendations are still valid in 2016 and have opened our eyes to do what we needed to do going forward.



Realising the future “Now is the time! The time to tell your truth. And do not look for the leader beyond yourself” 64 “We are the ones whom we have been waiting for”


Rethinking by all Rethinking is necessary. In 2012 the report Sustainable Development in the 21st Century (SD21) was published by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations.ix In the section Food and Agriculture it is stated that the status of our food security and the reduction of our natural resources is mainly caused by industrial agriculture. Also is says that the importance of public health in the coming 20 years is a serious matter. “Re-thinking is necessary because we are aiming for the wrong goals. Our eating habits result in poor health and the destruction of eco-systems. This is stupid; the importance of healthy food for the worldwidepopulation is the responsibility of the wrong parties and not related to correct agricultural and water management practices. We have to restore the nutritive value and the vitality of food through better soil management. No more empty calories! In the developed countries import of food is more important than its production; while there are 50.000 edible crops in the world, fifty percent of our food consists of three crops, grain, rice and maize; farmers and emerging organisations which contribute to the resilience and reinforcement of natural resources through the use of ecological agriculture and soil management are hardly supported. Industrial agriculture is the largest water user; on top of that it is the cause that annually some 20.00 to 50.000 km2 of productive land are lost as a result of erosion and land degradation.” Many of the interviewed experts plead for a complete change in thinking, rethinking: it concerns a transformation of our current habits and ways of thinking and a transformation of our current (Western based) food production and agricultural systems. x(endnote!) Rethinking can be supported by many participative tools.


This is a message of the Hopi elders, Red Indians who are aware of our role in a larger context and the interconnectedness in time. A message of the Hopi Elders, 2002. Various sources with additions of J.Crow



Actions by consumers “Every consumer can promote food security, says Editor in Chief of the British Centre for Ecology and Water Management. Scientists are calling upon the consumers to reduce their meat intake. “Everybody can contribute to a more sustainable production and consumption of nutrients and everybody will benefit from this,” says Achim Steiner, director of the UN Environmental Programme. "Whether we live in a region with a shortage or a surplus of nutrients, our daily decisions can make the difference. If we do not act together immediately, the next generation will inherit a world where millions of people will suffer from food insecurity as a result of a shortage of nutrients, while pollution with the same nutrients elsewhere will increase and promote climate change” The following actions can be carried out by consumers to realise the required future, starting as of this moment. Think globally, Act locally! Or, be aware of what is happening around the world and adjust your actions at local level accordingly. You can change the world by changing one purchase or one meal from your ordinary pattern. Eat less meat for instance. Each little bit helps. Buy organic products, regional products, products originating from a healthy soil. Ask for the origin or the sustainability label, so you create awareness with the vendors. You can start eating healthier, by paying attention to how your food has been produced. Each purchase is in fact a vote for a healthier future. Dutch consumers have spent 25 per cent more on sustainable food in 2012. Total turnover was 2,2 billion Euro. Under the heading ‘sustainable’, food products are included which distinguish themselves by their way of production;:animal friendly, organic, environmental friendly and/or ethical. In less than three years consumers have doubled their procurement of sustainable food. “Society shows that sustainable food is getting more and more important” says the Minister “This confirms that we are on the right way” Create a beautiful sustainable landscape somewhere in the world, through your own behaviour. Your purchase has an impact on the continuation of its production method and the landscape that is the result of this production method. A multi-functional or a monotonous landscape, an eroded or a lasting fertile landscape. With your purchase you choose for investments in or exploitation of a Dutch landscape (greenhouse tomatoes), a landscape in South America (maize, soy for export; or maize and beans for local consumption), in Peru (green asparagus for export, of food for home consumption), in Ethiopia (flowers for export, or food for home consumption).


“If you buy organic or related products, you vote in favour of healthy agricultural practices, you eat your soil healthy. If you buy industrial food you vote for unhealthy production methods. The world cannot permit this unsustainable approach any longer. The price that we make our planet and ourselves pay is big. These are choices we make ourselves.”65 Change your procurement behaviour. The consumer is the critical factor in effecting this change. A structural change is required which acknowledges that agricultural production has to be adapted to the ecological capacities of the region and that this should not be the other way around. This was posed in an article of July 2012 in the Flemish paper by Wervel66. Consumers are essential in realising change. They will choose the products of this improved integrated and regional agriculture. Do it! Put questions to your grocer, town council and at provincial level. As a consumer, you have a voice — and you should use it. You can check where your products come from and how they are produced. If you do not agree you can ask your supermarket to provide another brand. For example, If your favourite product contains palm oil, contact the manufacturer and ask them to use certified sustainable palm oil from suppliers that have made a clear commitment to halt deforestation. If the manufacturer already uses sustainable palm oil, ask them to indicate this on product packaging to help consumers make the best choice to protect the environment. The RSPO ( Round Table for sustainable Palm Oil) Shopping Guide lists products that carry the RSPO logo. You can find out if a company is a member of the RSPO and see what actions they are taking to improve the sustainability of their supply chains. Stop using herbicides like glyphosate (Roundup)xi and neonics which harm the soil as well as man and animals and cause bees to become extinct. Join an NGO to strengthen the movement and thus contribute to reaching the Tipping Point. You are what you eat, so stop being cheap, artificial, fast, non-authentic, unfair.

65 66


Jane Goodall in “Harvest for Hope, A Guide to Mindful Eating” 2006.=


Actions by farmers, farmers’ organisations and NGO’s Restore cycles at farm level (closed-loop farming) and start cooperating in your own region, with consumers and other farmers. Some suggestions: Switch to integrated systems. This requires planting permanent crops with long roots in your fields as they will retain water, increase groundwater levels, reduce surface run-off, preserve nitrogen and fix carbon. Additional ecosystem measures are: less or no tillage and no additional extra nitrogen, reintroduction of mixed farming, restoration of the food web, restoration of large scale grasslands and rotation grazing. Return to biodiversity management. Birds in farmland can be promoted by specific measures. For example no ploughing before winter, planting a winter crop, flower rich borders along the fields and protection of nests. Support (small holder) farmers in countries in development. For medium and large scale farms, promotion of commercial aspects may be considered, especially by balancing supply and demand. Encourage the switch to agroecological methods, the reduction of the use of pesticides, quality improvement and sharing of knowledge about closed-loop agriculture (One of the outcomes of the Oxfam/NOVIB internet discussion held in December 2012) Regional cooperation. This can be done in various ways. In Belgium the VLIF xii

supports farmers’ cooperatives or fledgling cooperative movements with the major aim to create a communal market for the participating farmers. The partnership takes the shape of a co-partnership, a not-for-profit organisation, an actual society with at least three active member farmers, who are individually responsible. The support xiii

consists of a capital premium with a maximum of 22.500 euro.

Sustainability tag. Ensure that your healthy, regional and sustainable products can be recognised. If the consumer wants to shift to these products they should be easy to recognise. Farmers’ cooperatives and farmer-consumer organisations play a major role here. In the UK the association LEAF has achieved this with their own brand for integrated agriculture and its products. Oregional, Boerenhart and Willem & Drees67 the Netherlands represent sustainable and regional production, but all have their own label. It would be preferable if a nationwide label for healthy, integrated food production could be organised. This could be done by applying PGS, Participatory Guarantee System, a certification system developed in Brazil68, in a bottom up approach, which involved the 67

These organisations are examples in the book 25 frontrunners in the transition to agroecology; February 2016. The book can be found on 68 Also an example in the book 25 frontrunners in the transition to agroecology


participation of all stakeholders in the production chainxiv. This certification depends on mutual trust, social networks, exchange of knowledge and shared responsibility. Stop using herbicides like glyphosate (Roundup) and neonics which harm the soil as well as man and animals and cause bees to become extinct. Join an NGO to strengthen the movement and thus contribute to reaching the Tipping Point. Apply healthy soil management, using carbon next to chemical fertiliser. Start working according to the Conservation Agriculture principle Copy good examples in the region



Agenda for Agribusiness 69

The SAI platform adds another three sustainability indicators to the existing ones. They are: 1 Biodiversity, 2 Agro-ecological regional development and development of multi-functional agricultural landscapes and 3, restoration of cycles. Ensure the reduction of food losses throughout the production chain. Ensure an agro-ecological approach in those countries where the basic products originate. Stop destruction and burning of rainforests for the development of oil palm and other plantations. Avoid mono-cultures (wheat in USA, soy in Brazil, palm oil in Africa and Indonesia) as they result in soil losses and deterioration of soil quality and have a negative impact on the livelihoods of small farmers. Stop land grabbing in the developing countries. Cooperate with development organisations, start producing regionally in a co-creative way, organise agricultural production through nucleus farms


Platform Sustainable Agriculture Initiative; a food industry organization, aimed to support the development of sustainable agriculture, involving the stakeholders in the food chain. http://




Apply sustainability principles. Use production, consumption and reproduction patterns, which protect and promote the regenerative capacity of the Earth, human rights and social well being. Use the sustainability flower and the grassroot certification system PGS, Participatory Guarantee System (EcoVida, Brazil). Strengthen ‘low input’ farming enterprises who know about cyclic agriculture (as done in the Netherlands by the Biodiversity fund of HIVOS/Oxfam Novib); use multistakeholder approaches for locally applicable technology, to connect to the local and regional market and the improvement of their logistic situation. Contribute to new alliances between regional governments and business chains, to develop a certification system which includes landscape. The sustainability round tables are things of the past, we have moved ahead.xvi Use new inviting economical procedures at regional level. There are new approaches which contribute to sustainable landscape development and guarantee income and food security for the local (poor) population at the same time. They can be found in a publication of the IUCN70 together with the strategy for landscape Livelihood (LLS) on a new approach of the economy, markets and incentives71 at regional level. Create socio-economic opportunities and unlock organisations and regulations to ensure that small scale and new technologies will reach small farmers have an imact. Do not stick to old fashioned principles, beliefs or self-interest.

6.5 Investors change their investment plans Change of mind! “The biggest challenge for the adoption of agro-ecological approaches is not a technical one, but are of a social and political nature. We require a change of mind in the political, economic, and ethical thinking about Agribusiness, which keeps promoting industrial large scale agriculture. The crisis which developed as a result of the worldwide unsustainable agricultural practices is covered by the ever increasing flow of subsidies, even in the shape of scientific research to promote this type of agriculture. It is essential that we leave this path to destruction”


International Union for the Conservation of Nature; Rethinking Economics, Markets and Incentives: Using Economic Tools at the Landscape Level. 71



The focus of investments should be with small and medium scale farmers, organised in cooperatives, as individual entrepreneurship, strengthened by responsibility, factual knowledge and creativity will lead the way to (the development of) sustainable agriculture. Invest nationwide and at regional level, in both North and South, in agro-eco agriculture and regional economies. Make different technologies accessible for different socio-economic and ecological situations. Pasture management in the Netherlands requires a different small scale approach from management of savannahs. The demand side will participate in the formulation of the criteria to be met by projects. Facilitate socio-economic opportunities; ensure that small scale and new technologies will reach small farmers have an impact. Do not stick to old fashioned principles, beliefs or self-interest. 72

Public sector finance (mainly through grants, subsidies and credit) can enable landscape actors to collaborate on projects that integrate multiple landscape objects. But the public sector must do more to help private investors move beyond niche opportunities. Public sector finance institutions must aggregate and coordinate ILM finance, improve the risk profile of ILM, and mainstream the ILM business case. Private sector investment (loans, equity, credits) and partnership models for ILM range from those that channel finance into whole landscapes to those that support and are designed to coordinate with landscape objectives. Public-private partnerships enable public and philanthropic actors to more effectively leverage private sector investment for scale, while also providing private sector partners an opportunity to reduce environmental and social risks in their supply chain , fulfil corporate social responsibility goals, maintain a ‘license to operate,’ and sometimes to access new markets by raising their profile in emerging economies.



6.6 Agenda for policy and governments: a new agricultural revolution A new agricultural revolution. The IAASTD report appeals for a renewed investment by government in agriculture. A different type of agriculture, however: one less dependent on fossil fuels, one which is supported by family and agro-ecological approaches and makes use of locally available inputs. Agriculture with a regional economic impact, promoting local employment and food security, reducing transportation costs as well as the impact on the environment, an agriculture which uses less herbicides, insecticides, water, and energy. In all regions in North, East, South and West.It is important that governments start seeing the interconnectedness of systems, and start cooperating at national, provincial, and municipal level to support the transition that is going on. ‘Quality food’ instead of higher production. This should be the goal of policy, industry, and politics. This was one of the outcomes of the Oxfam Novib discussion of November 2012. Enable! Make it possible, establish the conditions, facilitate. The private sector runs ahead of the government. They will play an important role in providing sustainable, socially acceptable solutions for our food production and the related agricultural systems, as the sector itself depends on the continuation of these systems and flexibility. Governments have to follow the private sector closely and facilitate development through legislation and tax facilities. We shall stop the polarisation between advocates of small scale, low external input agriculture and those preferring large scale intensive agriculture as per today. Cattle breeding returns to it’s ecological and social context. Where Ecology is concerned: where possible restoration of soil based cyclic movements at regional and local level, improve soil quality, organic self-regulation such as natural resistance of cattle and antibiotics only in extreme cases. Green energy, windmills, solar panels. Protect and promote biodiversity. From the social aspects: restore and revitalise the relations between North and South. Create awareness amongst consumers and promote their support of sustainable cattle breeding. The public sector (politics and policy) will provide better thought over support and directives towards agro-ecological solutions, for higher wellbeing of society and long term preservation of natural resources.


Various stakeholders participate in this process: politicians, agribusiness, trade, farmers, rural development and viability and nature and environment. By assessing where differences in opinion exist and where consensus a selection of realistic movements can be made. Development of organisations. Support new organisations instead of starting a new one yourself. Change existing organisations so they will follow the new, integrated agricultural movement. Systematize open air scattering of composted manure and long-fibre fodder for cattle in Europe. In January 2013 research by Dr. Lantinga (Wageningen UR, the Netherlands) demonstrated that open air scattering definitely has a positive impact on the soil and soil life. The association VBBM in the Netherlands is the initiator of a return to open air scattering. Their requests for practical tests to prove that their closed-loop management system in animal husbandry is healthier and more sustainable date from 2002. However, the race is not run yet as it is still very difficult to find support from civil servants73. Integrated agro-eco systems are used worldwide. Politics, policy and knowledge development agree on this, they initiate and support this approach. Ecosystems and food production are not mutually exclusive. We now have to manage ecosystems in a healthy manner to realise higher yields. Oxfam internet discussion. December 2012 Encourage and reward investments and enterprises which contribute to the common good. A label for sustainable-integrated-regional is necessary. Organic is not by all means fair and does not necessarily have a small ecological footprint. Do not re-invent the wheel, join existing initiatives. There is the Sustainability flower of Nature&More74; there is PGS, the Participatory Guarantee System (EcoVida, Brazil) and there are farmers’ organisations who want to develop such labels. Biofuel. Avoid the use of food crops and productive land for the production of biofuel. But investigate the de-centralised production of biofuel, if it 73

74 The sustainability flower was developed in 2009 by an international group of prominent pioneers

and innovators of the organic movement, operating under the umbrella of the "Belbis Desert Club". Among them are the founders and leaders of Eosta, Sekem, Alnatura, Lebensbaum, Rapunzel, Fibl, IFOAM, Soil & More, the Soil Association and others. They were looking to unite ecological and social values in a single elegant model. For each aspect of the flower, performance indicators were defined on the basis of the GRI Guidelines.The Sustainability Flower serves as the main evaluation and communication tool in the Nature & More system. See figure next page


contributes to strengthening of the local economy, the diversification of the landscape and strengthening of natural resources. Complementarity first. There are many roads that can be followed to restore sustainable cycles, food security, and coherent systems. Placing your bets on one horse with a one size fits all approach is no solution in view of the heterogeneity of agro-ecological systems, land use, policy, social and cultural change and values. Janvry75 argues that different models can be applied at the same time depending on the specific characteristics of the region (people and their values, social relations, local economy and soils) Promote the use of Effective Micro-organisms and stone- meal in agriculture.

Fig.10. Sustainability flower


70 Janvry et E Sadoulet, 2008.

6.7 Actions for combined agribusiness & development assistance. Preferably as per this moment we stop distinguishing between ‘Western’ and ‘Development’ agriculture. Until now there was a difference between small scale Low External Input (LEI) ‘development’ agriculture and large scale, intensive, mechanised, large scale ‘Western’ High External Input (HEI) agriculture Low External Input Subsistence Agriculture (LEISA), also known as development agriculture comprises of: (1) The subsistence farmers, who do not consider their activities as agriculture but as part of their existence. These farmers require a support network, policies to eliminate risks, to guide and strengthen their way of food production and management of water and energy, preferably through existing NGO’s. (2) Small farmers and small scale enterprises with low external input. They are mainly supported by NGO’s, international donors and other aid organisations and will receive micro credits etc. Large Scale, Western, Agriculture has a high energy consumption, is strongly mechanised and logistically well organised. This agriculture involves worldwide production chains, like the meat and dairy chains, where grains and soy are grown on different continents from where they will be used as animal feed. 30 % of the world grain production is used as feed. Farmers in Argentina thus do not produce their own food but European cattle feed. If western countries will start producing their own cattle feed again, farmers in Argentina can produce their own food again and start the restoration of their agro-eco systems, and soils. A third road exists. What does it look like? Local farmers in developing countries start producing in a more intensive and sustainable way, for local and export markets. This type of agriculture will use 80% of the total agricultural area. If these farmers are assisted to become self-supportive and produce a little bit for the market, for the greater part the problem is solved. These farmers use an ecological healthy system, which is economically feasible and matches their culture. They have a high potential for carbon fixation. It is high time that their role in the greening of the economy is recognised, small as it may be. In order to do so, we will adhere to the following lines of action: a. small scale low input farmers and family enterprises will be strengthened with knowledge on cyclic agriculture, as is done by the Biodiversity Fund of



c. d.


the Nederland’s/ Hivos/Oxfam Novib. We can apply multi-stakeholder approaches to develop locally applicable technology, adjust to the local and regional markets, and improve the logistic situation, as Soil&More is doing. Large scale intensive Western agriculture will change to a low-input approach, restore of cycles, improve soil management, and increase soil organic matter. Both in “the West” (USA, Canada, Europe, China and Australia) and at the sources of the elementary inputs for western oriented production chains. This will have an impact on both small and bigger scale farmers in developing countries, on the producers of soy, palm oil, milk, grain, mushrooms, citrus fruit, flowers, cotton etc. Integration of systems and the uniting of interests create the best conditions to render agriculture and cattle growing sustainable 76 . By turning NGO’s into partners instead of adversaries cattle growing will get a better standing. The polarisation77 between extensive/organic and intensive/industrial can be solved by using the advantages of both production systems in an integrated system. The principle of Nucleus Farming is accepted. Combine the advantages of a commercial farm with smallholder production. See also FAOxviii extension services microcredit

research commercial farm & smallholder farms export market

logistics local market

f. Use of integrated landscape development principles. Use the 10 principles for decision taking processes. These emphasize that integration of agriculture and environment require a human oriented participative approach with all stakeholders involved. This involves personal leadership, integrated landscape approaches are not easy, and they come with ups and downs. And still they are the best approach for complicated land use and rural development projects. So it is imperative that we gain experience in its usexix 76

This debate was organised In February 2013 by the Dutch Dairy Association and the research group for development issues (SKOV), supported by WageningenUR Livestock Research.


The “10 principles for an integrated xx

landscape approach are:

1: Continual learning and adaptive management; learning from outcomes can improve management. 2: Shared interest in an issue or problem; build solutions – even to wicked problems where parties have divergent views on possible solutions – around perceptions of common interest. 3: Multiple scales; awareness of numerous system influences and feedbacks that affect management is essential. 4: Multifunctionality; landscapes and their components have multiple uses and purposes that require trade-offs be reconciled. 5: Multiple stakeholders; engaging them in an equitable manner is needed to ensure optimal and ethical outcomes. 6: Negotiated and transparent change logic; transparency is the basis of trust needed to avoid or overcome conflict and is helped by good governance. 7: Clarification of rights and responsibilities; rules on resource access and land use need to be clear to ensure good management and good outcomes. 8: Participatory and user-friendly monitoring; it is valuable to derive information from multiple sources. 9: Resilience; increase system-level resilience through recognition of threats and vulnerabilities and actions to reduce them. 10: Strengthened stakeholder capacity; people require the ability to participate effectively and to accept various roles and responsibilities.



Urban Food Policy Change the way in which we feed our cities! The Urban Food Revolution (by Peter Ladner, 2011) contains a prescription for food security for societies, villages, cities, and cooperating citizens and is based on a wide range of innovations in the USA. How cities can become self-supporting through a regional food policy: Enable, encourage, and engage! Promote community development through the introduction and support of neighbourhood vegetable gardens, communal cooking, and composting programmes. Do not start these kind of programmes as a municipality, but encourage existing neighbourhood programmes, and support them with manpower so that they can grow. This helps against estrangement of food and supports social cohesion. But only through a well-considered policy can the trend be realised. Exemplify, set the right example. The increased demand for local and sustainable food justifies the development of sustainable and feasible business cases for urban agriculture. Support these! Restore local food processing (butchers, jam and cheese factories) storage and distribution. Make fresh food from the region available in town centres, at markets and in supermarkets, as done by MARQT in Amsterdam.



Science and research support transition The Social and Agricultural Sciences can support the transition in many ways. Social and transition science Provide insight in the processes of system innovation and transition (how do we do it?). This is already taking place at Telos in Tilburg, the Netherlands, Centre for Development Innovation (CDI) Wageningen, Knowledge Centre Transitions TNO, DRIFT Dutch Research Institute for Transition, Erasmus University Rotterdam and by John Grin at the University of Amsterdam. Process guidance and stimulation of collective learning. As done in the 78 crowdsourcing project “our common future 2.0” started by Jan Jonker in 2010. Over a period of 6 months everybody in the Netherlands, including non-scientists, could participate in one of the thirty discussion groups, each covering an aspect of sustainable development. This resulted in a strong flow of sustainable thinking. Provide a platform for knowledge development and reflection on the relationship between the various aspects of sustainability; integrate and apply knowledge together with the business community, government, and 79 social parties. Utrecht Sustainability Institute Start pilots to test new options; this is mainly done by private and NGO initiatives, which are less likely to be recognised by science and policy; however, Innovatie netwerk and Utrecht Sustainability Institute also use pilots. Monitor institutional change as well as practical changes as taking place at pioneers and early followers level, reflexive monitoring! And support this by rendering the relationships and feedback mechanisms visible. Supportive regulations. Investigate how regulation – at all levels and for different sectors – can support the restoration of complex agro-ecosystems. Agricultural Sciences will support as follows: Support the development of endogenic knowledge systems, locally specific experience knowledge. Emphasize that we are dealing with system innovation: unknown types of cooperation, which cannot yet be contained in a model, will become visible; this requires interdisciplinary and organic science. It will only work if the


Jan Jonker is working on a series of new books the first of which is called: Strategic Sustainable Organisation, Seduce, Connect and Anchor. Starting from 2012, sustainable and justified ventures and the realisation of the fundamental change that this requires in, with, and by people in organisations will be in the centre of attention. . 79 With over 1500 researchers the Utrecht Sustainability Institute (USI) is one of leading network organisations on sustainability in the Netherlands.


actors concerned do realise that they are mutually dependent. As a researcher you cannot stand on the side, since you are part of the process. Substantiate that agro-eco agriculture covers wide range of practices, and works well with practice driven and practice supporting research. Louis Bolk and Agro/Eco apply ecological principles in agricultural practices. Monitor the change to agro-ecosystems; identify the successes and the failures so institutional support can concentrate on how to the remedy the failures and strengthen the successes and the supporting measures. Prioritise research according to the future needs, take collective action to look forward and implement communal and interrelated research programmes at regional and international level. This was one of the 80 outcomes of the second worldwide conference on agricultural research for development. Develop through practical research and effective cooperation with farmers technologies which are useful for them, instead of imposing something on farmers because you find it important. This is one of the main conclusions of the first Conference on the development of Science in Africa, CoS.1. Measure and monitor results to manage new developments effectively, because without measuring feedback and thus modification is impossible. (Oxfam Novib internet discussions December 2012) Increase action research to reduce post-harvest losses. Only five percent of the budget is currently spent on this problem. It should be increased by 100 percent. Support the teaching of secondary school teachers in the importance of agricultural practises and agriculture and food production for the world. .


Second Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD), Uruguay, 2012


6.10 Together: Prevent food losses The prevention of food losses can only be realised if we tackle the issue together in a worldwide setting. The recent working documentxxi of the World Resources Institute WRI81 gives us five recommendations. Develop a protocol (set of principles) on how to measure food loss and wastage under the slogan “What you can measure, you can manage”. It would be a practical aid for organisations, institutions (hospitals, retirement homes), restaurants, and municipalities worldwide to register food losses in the same way and get a better grip on them. Set targets to reduce food losses in the production chain and at consumers’ level. Setting targets helps to create awareness, concentrate attention and organise support. Worldwide, national, and regional targets for large and small scale enterprises motivate to take action. The European Union has set its targets to reduce food losses in 2050 by fifty percent in comparison to 2013. Invest in the reduction of post-harvest losses in developing countries. A large percentage of the food loss in developing countries takes place at farm level, mainly becausexxii of poor storage facilities (rodents, mould) and poor packing facilities for transportation to the markets. The percentage of the agricultural research spent on this aspect amounts only to five percent, but should be ten percent at least. Support or create organisations aiming to reduce food loss in the developed countries. WRAP (Working together for a world without waste) is a good example of such an organisation. They are independent from government, but work closely together with government and industry to reduce food loss and promote recycling. Support and strengthen initiatives aiming at the reduction of food loss and wastage. SAVE FOOD82 See endnote for morexxiii and Think.Eat.Savexxiv are examples of such initiatives. To find a solution they bring the different actors together, they encourage and share “best practices”.



The World Resources Institute.


References i

The IAASTD was a three-year project (2005-2007) that consisted of one global and five subassessments. They all used the same framework, which consisted of the impact of agricultural knowledge and technology on hunger, poverty, nutrition, health, social, and ecological sustainability in relation to the past and the future. All assessments were critically evaluated by governments and independent experts and finally approved by a panel of the governments from participating countries. The assessment culminated in the report Agriculture at a Crossroads. ii

The United Nations Human Rights Council appointed Olivier De Schutter in 2008, as special UN Rapporteur in the right to food. He is completely independent and reports to the Council for Human Rights and the General Assembly. iii

The 2d Annual Conference of the World Cultural Forum (Taihu,China) in Hangzhou

On May 18th to 19th, 2013, the second annual conference of the World Cultural Forum (Taihu, China) was successfully held in Hangzhou with the theme "Strengthen International Cooperation for Ecological Civilization". Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Yu Zhengsheng attended this Conference and delivered the keynote address at the opening ceremony. More than 500 people from 23 countries and regions around the world, who are dignitaries and celebrities in ecology, culture, economics and media both at home and abroad including President of the Republic of Mozambique Armando Emilio Guebuza, Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda Dame Louise Lake-tack, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. Former Prime minister of the Netherlands, Ruud Lubbers, had invited to attend this conference and delivered speeches. When the Conference concluded, the guests jointly signed a Hangzhou Declaration on Promoting Ecological Civilization Construction based on equal exchanges, each expressing their own opinions and seeking common grounds while reserving differences. iv

IIED needs to be bold and seek out places and sectors in which we and partners can influence decisions at global, national and local levels. This is our strategy for the next five years — pushing the boundaries of research, building partnerships and engaging for change. Please get in touch with us, because it is only through collaboration that we can identify, apply and scale up solutions for a fairer, more sustainable world. v

Within the “New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), a programme of the African Union, the “Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme” (CAADP) was created that is entirely African-led and African-owned and represents African leaders' collective vision for agriculture in Africa. For example, agricultural reform in Africa aims for an annual growth rate of 6% in agriculture by 2015. CAADP has four pillars: 1) Sustainable land and reliable water control systems; 2) Private sector development, rural infrastructure, improved trade & market access; 3) Increasing food supply and reducing hunger; and 4) Agricultural research and dissemination of agricultural technology. Within this last pillar, CoS-SIS focuses on research on the impact of agricultural innovation systems approaches. vi

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (ISBN 0-316- 31696-2). A book by Malcolm Gladwell, first published by Little Brown in 2000



H.E.Wielinga; de initiatievenspiraal. viii

Farming Systems Research into the 21st Century: The New Dynamic. e_21st_Century_The_New_Dynamic ABSTRACT If Farming Systems Research is to truly embrace sustainability as the overall context of its mission, then the inclusion of ethics (and especially systemic ethics) is an imperative. -

There are matters of responsibilities of producers to the ecological integrity of the land that they farm, as well as to the manner by which they use resources. T here are matters of equity and fairness and trustworthiness to the consumers of their products, and matters of the well-being of animals under their care. There are, furthermore, particular responsibilities that farming systems researchers have to the way that they conduct their scientific inquiries and develop and promote the types of technologies that they help to generate. T

These issues raise questions that call upon consideration of rights and wrongs, of means as well as ends, of good and evil, and of what it is to be virtuous. These are ethical questions about what ‘should be done’ with respect to the further development of farming systems that ought to condition the answers to questions about what ‘could be done’. This chapter will discuss the significance of the moral/ethical dimensions of agriculture and farming, as well as of agricultural sciences. It will show how the implementation of the principles of sustainability ethics ‘ought to’ shape Farming Systems Research. ix

Written by Daniele Diavanucci, Gabriel Scherr, Danielle Nierenberg, Charlotte Hebebrand, Julie Shapiro, Jeffrey Milder, Keith Weeler x

Sustainable Development in the 21st Century, SD21. “Re-thinking is necessary because we are aiming for the wrong goals. Our eating habits result in poor health and the destruction of eco-systems. This is stupid; the importance of healthy food for the worldwidepopulation is the responsibility of the wrong parties and not related to correct agricultural and water management practices. We have to restore the nutritive value and the vitality of food through better soil management. No more empty calories! In the developed countries import of food is more important than its production; while there are 50.000 edible crops in the world, fifty percent of our food consists of three crops, grain, rice and maize; farmers and emerging organisations which contribute to the resilience and reinforcement of natural resources through the use of ecological agriculture and soil management are hardly supported. Industrial agriculture is the largest water user; on top of that it is the cause that annually some 20.00 to 50.000 km2 of productive land are lost as a result of erosion and land degradation.” xi

Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide that kills any plant it comes into contact with, regardless of whether it is a weed or a crop. “Roundup ready” crops, including soy, corn and cotton have been genetically modified to tolerate glyphosate, meaning that farmers can apply as much of the herbicide as they want without worrying about hurting their crops. As a result, glyphosate use has increased tenfold since it was last approved by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the early 90s. With the use of glyphosate steadily increasing, it is imperative that JMPR acts to protect the public from being exposed to this probable human 79

carcinogen in their food. Unfortunately, glyphosate is linked to cancer (Group 2A ‘probable’ human carcinogen) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the prestigious cancer assessment arm of the WHO. But, cancer-causing chemicals have friends in high places. Monsanto is the world’s leading producer of glyphosate, with annual sales of Roundup netting about two billion U.S. dollars. Unsurprisingly, the company quickly fired back with a statement on how the company is “outraged” at IARC’s “agenda-driven bias” in its “irresponsible” decision-making. [As a side, since IARC announced its decision, a group of U.S. citizens have filed a class action lawsuit against Monsanto for falsifying safety claims and a group of Chinese citizens have filed a lawsuit against the Chinese government for hiding Monsanto’s toxicity studies from the public]. xii

The Belgian support for cooperations is called VLIF. It supports the start up of licensed farmers’ cooperations and has as its main goal that the farmers create a communal market. The cooperation takes the shape of a cooperative company, a non profit organisation, an actual association of at least three farmers, who are individually responsible. The support consists of an amount of maximal 22.500 euro; xiii;


Eaton and Shepherd[2] identify five different contract farming models. Under the centralized model a company provides support to smallholder production, purchases the crop, and then processes it, closely controlling its quality. This model is used for crops such as tobacco, cotton, sugar cane, banana, tea, and rubber. Under the Nucleus Estate model, the company also manages a plantation in order to supplement smallholder production and provide minimum throughput for the processing plant. This approach is mainly used for tree crops such as oil palm and rubber. The Multipartite model usually involves a partnership between government bodies, private companies and farmers. At a lower level of sophistication, the Intermediary model can involve subcontracting by companies to intermediaries who have their own (informal) arrangements with farmers. Finally, the Informal model involves small and medium enterprises who make simple contracts with farmers on a seasonal basis. Although these are usually just seasonal arrangements they are often repeated annually and usually rely for their success on the proximity of the buyer to the seller. xvi

Friedman, landscapesblog, FAO.


IAASTD, 2008


For Nucleus Farming, see


This article was published in a special report of the PNAS, with editors Jeffrey Sayer and Kenneth Cassman. It emphasizes innovations in agriculture which can contribute to an increse in food production without an increased negative impact on the environment. xx

Sayer, J., T. Sunderland, J. Ghazoul, J. Pfund, D. Sheil, E. Meijaard, M. Venter, A.K. Boedhihartono, M. Day, C. Garcia, C. van Oosten, and L.E. Buck. 2013. Ten principles for a landscape approach to reconciling agriculture, conservation, and other competing land uses. PNAS 110(21): 8349-8356. xxi


xxii The research further revealed that alf of the waste could have been recycled. After recycling this would have had a value of 1.38 million euros. Annually 26.000 tonnes of waste is dumped illegally.