Faced with a changing climate, a rising population, and a decline in the health of the Earth’s natural resources health and biodiversity, NGO’s and academics are investigating how to use ecological principles to design and manage sustainable food systems. This holistic approach to food production and land management, known as agroecology, is catching on across the globe. Now, More and Better, La Via Campesina, the Network of Farmers’ and Agricultural Producers’ Organisations of West Africa (ROPPA), and the National Coordination of Peasant Organizations of Mali (CNOP), are hosting the International Forum for Agroecology at the Nyéléni Center in Sélingué, Mali from February 24-27, 2015.
This gathering follows the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) International Symposium on Agroecology for Food Security and Nutrition held in September of 2014. At the symposium, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva noted that “agroecology continues to grow, both in science and in policies. It is an approach that will help to address the challenge of ending hunger and malnutrition in all its forms, in the context of the climate change adaptation needed.”
Agroecology also increases the autonomy of farmers, optimizes food yields, and increases food security, according to Laura Silici, a researcher at the International Institute for Environment and Development. Agroecology techniques include integrated pest management, crop diversification, agroforestry, conservation tillage, and holistic landscape management.
The forum in February 2015 seeks to strengthen the connections between agroecology-focused organizations, share best practices and local knowledge, and determine how to effectively encourage the development and implementation of agroecology. Representatives from peasants’ organizations, NGO’s, academia, as well as other agroecology experts, will gather in Mali to address the use of agroecology practices to increase the capacity of family farms and improve food sovereignty.