Food sovereignty, agroecology and biocultural diversity
New book edited by Michel Pimbert

The production of knowledge – and who controls it – is a key focus of social movements and others who promote food sovereignty, agroecology and biocultural diversity. This new book edited by Michel Pimbert, director of the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (UK) critically examines the kinds of knowledge and ways of knowing needed for food sovereignty, agroecology and biocultural diversity.

It is shown that alternatives to the current model of development require radically different knowledges and epistemologies from those used today in mainstream institution. To achieve food sovereignty, agroecology and biocultural diversity, there is a need to re-imagine and construct knowledge for diversity, decentralisation, dynamic adaptation and democracy.

This book critically explores the changes in organisations, research paradigms and professional practice that could help transform and co-create knowledge for a ‘new modernity’, based on plural definitions of wellbeing. Particular attention is given to institutional, pedagogical and methodological innovations that can enhance cognitive justice by giving hitherto excluded citizens more power and agency in the construction of knowledge. The book thus contributes to the democratisation of knowledge and power in the domain of food, environment and society.

  • ‘Food sovereignty, agroecology and biocultural diversity’ is published by Routledge (2018).
    Order your copy here.


What others say about this book:

This important book shows both how agroecology can democratize knowledge, and how democratizing knowledge in turn is a condition for agroecology to develop. We tend to reduce agroecology to a set of agronomic techniques that reduce the need for external inputs, that de-link food production from energy consumption, and that restore soil health. But it is, more fundamentally, about the direction of knowledge: agroecology operates the shift from top-down ‘extension’ of knowledge by experts delegated by ministries, to a bottom-up approach prioritizing the local knowledge developed by farmers. It is empowering, horizontal, based on trial and error — but it is also, as this volume shows, another way of conceiving science.”

 Olivier De Schutter, former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food (2008-2014), Co-Chair, International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food), Belgium

Family farmers, pastoralists, fishers and small food processors continue to be neglected and marginalized by the dominant agricultural research system. As this book makes abundantly clear, the exclusion of peasant farmers from the co-construction of knowledge for food and farming is not only an enduring injustice, it is also a huge wasted opportunity for the development of socially just and ecologically sustainable food systems everywhere. Achieving food sovereignty, amplifying agroecology and regenerating biocultural diversity all directly depend on peasant farmers and other citizens being centrally involved in deciding the priorities for research and innovation. This book is both timely and courageous because it clearly shows how the construction of knowledge can indeed be democratized and re-invented for the common good.

– Mamadou Goita, Director of IRPAD and former Executive Director of ROPPA. Founding member of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, Mali



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