What Consumers Need To Understand

What Consumers need to understand.

Executive Summary

Agroecology has emerged as an alternative approach to dealing with the myriad challenges brought about by conventional agriculture. The ever-increasing number of populations who are food insecure, coupled with the loss of biodiversity, land degradation, climate change, and environmental pollution among many other negative outcomes clearly point to a failure of our current food systems. Agroecology applies ecological and social concepts and principles to the study, design, and management of farming and agricultural systems to ensure food and nutrition security for all. Considered a holistic scientific approach, a set of principles and practices, and a social movement, agroecology recognizes that food systems are coupled with socio-ecological systems from food production to consumption.

The Food Systems Debate

Through its various activities on food systems, the Consumer Grassroots Association (CGA) has identified gaps in consumer engagement on food rights and food systems issues. Consumers, including consumer organizations, feel constrained to actively agitate on food-related concerns due to a lack of information and understanding of food systems. There is limited knowledge on alternatives to industrial food systems, which consumers can actively promote. Information on agroecology, including its potential to address food safety concerns, access to nutritious food for all, and affordability, among other issues affecting consumers, is either unavailable or producer-centred and therefore not easily accessible or in the best interest of consumers. Therefore, there is a need for coordinated action and collaboration among the range of actors in the food system.

The Goal

This Consumer Guide on Agroecology is intended to bridge the information divide between consumers on the one hand and producers, input suppliers, distributors, processors, decision-makers, regulators, and any other players in the food system. It explains agroecology from a consumer perspective. It highlights a 10-point framework on Agroecology.