New book: Agroecology Now!

This book, co-authored by Cultivate’s Janneke Bruil, is an indispensable guide to transformative agroecology, illustrated through multiple case studies and analysis of the roles of governance and power.

–Molly D. Anderson, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Food Studies at Middlebury College. Member, International Panel of Experts in Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food)


We are proud to announce our new book:

Agroecology Now! Transformations Towards More Just and Sustainable Food Systems
By: Colin R. Anderson, Janneke Bruil, Michael Jahi Chappell, Csilla Kiss and Michel Pimbert

Download at No Cost

This book presents a framework for advancing agroecology in food systems transformation, with a specific focus on power, politics and governance. It explores the potential of agroecology as a sustainable and socially just alternative to today’s dominant food regime.

The authors analyse the conditions that enable and disable the potential of agroecology. They present six ‘domains of transformation’ where agroecology comes into conflict with the dominant food system:

Six domains of transformation


The authors argue that food sovereignty, community-self organisation and a shift to bottom-up governance are critical for the transformation to a socially just and ecologically viable food system. 

People and institutions can intentionally or inadvertently influence transformation in territories.  The last part of the book articulates a new way of thinking about the effects of such interventions:

  1. undermining agroecology by (i) suppressing and (ii) co-opting it;
  2. maintaining the status quo by (iii) containing and (iv) shielding agroecology, and
  3. enabling transformation by (v) supporting and nurturing and (vi) releasing and anchoring agroecology.

The analysis draws from political ecology and the multi-level perspective on sustainability transitions. The book builds on our wider work to advance a transformative agroecology at Cultivate! and the AgroecologyNow! group at the UK Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience. A short ‘backgrounder‘ presents a concise summary of one part of the overall framework in the book, explaining the notion of Domains of Agroecology Transformations.


Anderson, C.R., Bruil, J., Chappell, M.J., Kiss, C., and Pimbert, M.P. (2020). Agroecology Now! Transformations Towards More Just and Sustainable Food Systems. Palgrave MacMillan.  Download for free!


What others say about the book:

This book is a generous offering to our movements and communities about the actions and policies needed to make agroecology the new paradigm for the future of food and agriculture. It clearly lays out the social and political dimensions of the food system transformation that we desperately need.

The book will nourish the dialogue between all the different actors working on agroecology and spells out the struggles at local level, the barriers that need to be overcome and overall gives a transformative agroecology the conceptual credibility that policy makers ask of us every day.

The new food system needs to be based on agroecology and food sovereignty — this book gives to all of us a new tool to make this possible.

–Andrea Ferrante, Schola Campesina

At a time of converging crises— social, environmental, economic, health— agroecology is capturing global attention as a real alternative to the industrial food system and a way to mitigate climate change, biodiversity loss, the loss of farming knowledge, farmer insolvency, and more. 

This timely book presents how agroecology, as a transformative vision and practice, combats the exploitative capitalist food system of oppression and marginalization, not only of the world’s farmers but of the primacy of human well-being and ecological health.  This book is an indispensable guide to transformative agroecology in its multiple domains, illustrated through multiple case studies and analysis of the roles of governance and power.

–Molly D. Anderson, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Food Studies at Middlebury College. Member, International Panel of Experts in Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food)

There is growing evidence demonstrating the potential of agroecology for the transformation of the current food system towards sustainability. However, there is a need to develop the political theories on how to move from isolated experiences to effectively push or change the current regime towards transformation, avoiding the risks of being diluted or co-opted. This book dares to do that, building a robust theory of change based on six domains of transformation that limit or enable agroecology transformations.  

The authors’ perspective is that agroecology should not be seen just as a set of technical practices; on the contrary, it should be a process of continuous political transition based on core principles and commitments to both social justice and ecological regeneration.  

Everyone involved in agroecological experiences – farmers, practitioners, researchers, decision makers, social movements’ leaders – will benefit from this reading and from the fertile discussions this book will raise. The call for “Agroecology Now!” must be spread quickly and widely.  

–Emma Siliprandi, FAO Agricultural Officer, Lead Focal Point for the Scaling up Agroecology Initiative 

Written in a joyful and convincing way, ‘Agroecology Now!’ provides a solid discussion of the multiple interfaces between agroecology and politics. It distinguishes six domains of transformation, each requiring specific repertoires for action and change. The book is enriched with an impressive amount of empirical illustrations and thus shows, inter alia, how agroecology contributes to a more relaxed world in which beauty and good taste can abound. 

Jan Douwe van der Ploeg, Professor Emeritus of Wageningen University

“This book presents an important approach to a question currently debated by many social movements, researchers and policy-makers: how to support transitions towards agroecology and sustainable food systems. It is refreshing to read an academically grounded book on agroecology which gives importance to its political dimensions – a welcome reminder that transforming food systems cannot happen without challenging power dynamics and governance structures.” 

— Maryam Rahmanian, panel member of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food)