This section covers p2p-oriented and relocalization trends in agriculture and food production, as well as food sovereignty and land commons issues.
We are in the process of porting the related articles from our Ecology section. First column done so far.
For a closer watch of these developments, see our diggo tags:
A shorter selection of our Encyclopedia below, see: Key Concepts and Practices from the P2P Open Agriculture Revolution
Please read this key insight by John Robb:
- Grain proposes: Five key steps towards a food system that can address climate change and the food crisis
- Essential Food Policy Proposals. By MARK BITTMAN
- Charles Eisenstein: Permaculture Can Feed the World
…everything old is new again. The resurgent interest in local foods and home-scale preservation—from canning, jamming, freezing, brewing, fermenting, and otherwise experimenting with food—is happening coast to coast. Taking up the pot and the pan, the cheesecloth and strainer, the canning jar and the wine bottle, homesteaders are beginning to reweave the web of culture lost in the toxic downdrift of the industrial food supply. Food preservation is hooked into all the values of homesteading—self-sufficiency, community resilience, DIY for fun and pleasure—a reminder that food is not something that’s done for us, but something that we do with one another. Remaking our relationship to food is one of the central homesteading pleasures and practices, a radical act that can go a long way toward growing into our role as producers rather than consumers.
— From “Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living” by Rachel Kaplan with K. Ruby Blume, Skyhorse Publishing, New York: 2011 
The Industrial Agriculture Model is not working
The "story is not panning out as planned. Chemical fertilizers have depleted soil, herbicides created superweeds, and monocropping is documented to have lower overall yields than diversified farms. And cost effective? The vast majority of farming households earn their living off-farm."
- Beth Hoffman 
"Industrial, factory-farmed food is cheap for a simple reason: because it’s over-produced. Organic, sustainable food is under-produced, making it over-priced and fueling the false perception that it “can’t feed the world.” Critics cite this affordability gap and call organic food “elitist.” Reformers retort by citing the health and environmental costs of industrial food. Both have a point. The real solution is to make organic food more affordable – by producing more of it. Organic, sustainable farmers are at a disadvantage competing with a subsidized, high-volume, industrial supply chain. As Jane Black recently said, what we need is a “level playing field.” Technology is the great leveler. It’s time to level the playing field in food."
- Ali Partovi 
Superiority of Regenerative Organic Agriculture is Scientifically Firmly Established
"The superiority of regenerative farming is now firmly established: organic agriculture outperforms and outearns conventional industrial farming. In September 2011, the Rodale Institute released the findings of its 30-year study of farming systems. Organic techniques beat conventional methods in every category, most importantly in productivity and in profit per acre. Controlling for premium pricing (the Whole Foods effect), organic production brought in three times as much per acre per year. Equally important, organic production produced slightly better yields than standard industrial techniques. Organic farming is also regenerative, rebuilding soils and retaining 15–20 percent more water, in turn improving drought resistance. These regenerative techniques consume 45 percent less energy and emit 29 percent less carbon than conventional methods."
- Paul Doherty 
The Slow Food and locavore movements have been rightly criticized for their class politics, for advancing a laudable goal that is unattainable by many who might choose it if they could, and for consumption excesses that they justify as being local and “slow.” Their essential message, however, that food is an intimate reflection of our lives and culture, is not a class-based assertion but a human one. The appropriate class critique lies in the fact that not everyone can afford a Slow Food meal or the labyrinthine lifestyle of the locavore, but the drive towards localizing our food sources and reimagining our relationship with food can be shared with everyone. Generating local food sources in order to provide food security for everyone is part of the bigger story of the urban food revival currently underway.
— From “Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living” by Rachel Kaplan with K. Ruby Blume, Skyhorse Publishing, New York: 2011 
Industrial agriculture and its responsibility for climate change
"While climate disruptions are already having profound effects on those who grow our food, agricultural practices on an industrial scale are a primary source of the greenhouse gases responsible for altering the climate. The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), a collaborative effort by four UN agencies and the World Bank, affirmed in a 2009 report that “The relationship between climate change and agriculture is a two-way street; agriculture contributes to climate change in several major ways and climate change in general adversely affects agriculture.” ... the overwhelming share of the global food system’s impacts on the disruption of the earth’s climate systems stems from the practices of industrial agriculture. Estimates of the food system’s contribution to global emissions of greenhouse gases vary widely, from 20 percent at the low end to nearly 60 percent.... One anomalous but widely reported study suggested that livestock alone may be responsible for 51 percent of global emissions." (http://www.foodmovementsunite.org/authors/brian_tokar.html)
The impact of ultra low-cost entrepreneurial farming equipment
"In the developing world, the technology that is perhaps most effectively hacking the food system is the adoption of ultra low-cost entrepreneurial farming equipment. OThese kind of low-cost, low-tech interventions, often sold in peer-to-peer market situations are in fact one of the singularly most powerful ways to combat poverty and global hunger." (http://www.foodandtechconnect.com/site/2011/10/26/marc-alt-on-hacking-the-food-system-urban-rural-global-local/)
"We are in an era when gardens are front and center for hopes and dreams of a better world or just a better neighborhood, or the fertile space where the two become one. There are farm advocates and food activists, progressive farmers and gardeners, and maybe most particular to this moment, there’s a lot of urban agriculture. These city projects hope to overcome the alienation of food, of labor, of embodiment, of land, the conflicts between production and consumption, between pleasure and work, the destructiveness of industrial agriculture, the growing problems of global food scarcity, seed loss." (http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/6918)
Learning from Russia's Organic Gardening Revolution
Russians Proving That Small-Scale, Organic Gardening Can Feed the World:
"When it's suggested that our food system be comprised of millions of small, organic gardens, there's almost always someone who says that it isn't realistic. And they'll quip something along the lines of, "There's no way you could feed the world's growing population with just gardens, let alone organically." Really? Has anybody told Russia this?
"On a total of 8 million hectares (20 million acres) of land, 35 million Russian families grow food in small-scale, organic gardens on their Dachas (a secondary home, often in the extra urban areas). Because growing your own food happens to be a long-lived tradition in Russia, even among the wealthy. "Based on official 1999 statistics, 92% of Russia's potatoes, 77% of its vegetables, 87% of its fruits, 59.4% of its meat, and 49.2% of its milk were produced by these 35 million Dacha families (105 million people, 71% of the country's population).
If Russian families can manage such production in their region's very short growing season (approx. 110 days), imagine the output most parts of the world could manage by comparison. Unfortunately in just the US alone, lawns take up more than twice the amount of land Russia's gardens do (est. 40-45 million acres)." (http://reclaimgrowsustain.com/content/russians-proving-small-scale-organic-gardening-can-feed-world)
On the (Non-) Justification of Owning Land
"The power of enclosing land and owning property was brought into the creation by your ancestors by the sword; which first did murder their fellow creatures, men, and after plunder or steal away their land, and left this land successively to you, their children. And therefore, though you did not kill or thieve, yet you hold that cursed thing in your hand by the power of the sword; and so you justify the wicked deeds of your fathers, and that sin of your fathers shall be visited upon the head of you and your children to the third and fourth generation, and longer too, till your bloody and thieving power be rooted out of the land."
- Gerard Winstanley 
The amount of arable land per person decreased from about an acre in 1970 to roughly half an acre in 2000 and is projected to decline to about a third of an acre by 2050....
- John Robb 
"According to the International Food Policy Research Institute, 10 million ha of land lost by erosion, by year. Each year, anywhere in the world, growth of cities and slums, the intensification of transport networks, etc., removed from agriculture hundreds of thousands of hectares of very fertile area. The area of farmland per person has declined by nearly half since 1960." 
"The latest permaculture methods can deliver much more than just double or triple the yield of conventional farming. I recently came across this article by David Blume chronicling his nine-year permaculture enterprise in California. Running a CSA for 300-450 people on two acres of land, he achieved yields eight times what the Department of Agriculture says is possible per square foot."
- Charles Eisenstein 
According to the 30-year ongoing comparative Farming Systems Trial at the Rodale Institute :
- Organic yields match conventional yields.
- Organic outperforms conventional in years of drought.
- Organic farming systems build rather than deplete soil organic matter, making it a more sustainable system.
- Organic farming uses 45% less energy and is more efficient.
- Conventional systems produce 40% more greenhouse gases.
- Organic farming systems are more profitable than conventional.
"It is estimated that at least 66% of the total population of sub-Saharan Africa, or 552 million people, live in rural areas, and this will rise to 650 million people by 2025. If it is assumed that 90% are customary rather than statutory land holders, then currently there are some 500 million people in the customary sector in sub-Saharan Africa. With exceptions, most of these people have been affected by negative legal and policy treatment of customary land rights, especially as it relates to common resources. As a common resource, the fate of the commons is a concern of the majority" (http://www.landcoalition.org/sites/default/files/publication/901/WILY_Commons_web_11.03.11.pdf)
- Present and future
" On a total of about 20 million acres managed by over 35 million Russian families, Russians are carrying on an old-world technique, which we Americans might learn from. They are growing their own organic crops - and it’s working.
According to some statistics , they grow 92% of the entire countries’ potatoes, 77% of its vegetables, 87% of its fruit, and feed 71% of the entire population from privately owned, organic farms or house gardens all across the country. These aren’t huge Agro-farms run by pharmaceutical companies; these are small family farms and less-than-an-acre gardens.
A recent report from Agro-ecology and the Right to Food  says that organic and sustainable small-scale farming could double food production in the parts of the world where hunger is the biggest issue. Within five to 10 years we could see a big jump in crop cultivation." (http://naturalsociety.com/russians-prove-small-scale-organic-can-feed-world/)
- University of Minnesota (2013, August 1). Existing cropland could feed four billion more by dropping biofuels and animal feed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 8, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2013/08/130801125704.htm
- see the Directory on the Open Food Movement: Collaboration and Interoperability of Open Food Projects and Systems; Compiled by by Kirsten Larsen (Open Food Network), Daniel Grover (Farm Hack) and Tristan Copley-Smith (Open Source Beehives) - with some special assistance on open data from Alex Bayley (Growstuff).
The directory distinguishes between:
- Food Hubs & Networks?
- Food Production / Gardening / Urban Agriculture
- Farm management
- Open Agriculture / Food Data
- Hardware and Tools
- P2P Farming Knowledge
Key Articles and Essays
- Food Systems and Design – A Reader. Ed. by John Thackara.
- Nevin Cohen: The Networked Future of Urban Agriculture. Special issue: Hacking_the_Food_System, from Food/Connect.
- Robert Paterson on the Emergence of Four Major Techno-Economic Paradigms: on the key role of food surplus as lever in the evolution of human civilisation 
- Jan Douwe van de Ploeg: Reconstitution of the Peasantry in the 21st Century
- Report: Agroecology and the Right to Food : A move by farmers in developing countries to ecological agriculture, away from chemical fertilisers and pesticides, could double food production within a decade  
- Barriers to Agri-ecological conversion: overview of the problems regarding this necessary switch
- Report: Sustainable Agriculture and Off-Grid Renewable Energy. Dr. Mae-Wan Ho. ISIS contribution to UNCTAD Trade and Environment Review 2011 
- Jason F. Mclennan. The Urban Agriculture Revolution. Bringing Food into Living Cities. : An important and sensible overview of why this is happening.
- Toward Global Knowledge Sharing for Farmers: Examples from the Philippines. By Roberto Verzola. 
- Vivero Pol, Jose Luis, Food as a Commons: Reframing the Narrative of the Food System (April 23, 2013).
- Six Proposed Policy Principles for Scaling Up Agroecology. By Olivier De Schutter, Gaëtan Vanloqueren:
- Five innovations for urban gardening
- Ensuring Land Access, by Rob Hopskins.
- How To Share Land; focuses on UK/US
- How to Share a Vegetable Garden 
- How to Start A Farmers' Market 
- Host a Baby Food Swap 
- How to Create Your Own Seed-Lending Library 
- How to start a Crop Mob - Crop mobs allow you to get and give gardening help. 
- Permatechie: a blog about the intersection of ecovillages and hackspaces, ecology and technology, primitivism and transhumanism, permaculture and appropriate technology.
- The Ecological Revolution – Making Peace with the Planet. John Bellamy Foster, Monthly Review Press, New York, 2009, 288 pp 
- Food Rebellions! Crisis and the Hunger for Justice. Eric Holt-Giménez and Raj Patel, Pambazuka Press, Cape Town, Dakar, Nairobi and Oxford, 2009 ; Follow-up: Food Movements Unite! Ed. by Eric Holt-Giménez and Annie Shattuck. Food First, 2011. 
- Terra Madre: Forging a New Global Network of Sustainable Food Communities. Carlo Petrini. Chelsea Green Publishing, 2010. 
- Reclaiming Public Water. Achievements, Struggles and Visions from Around the World. By Brid Brennan, et al. download: The groundbreaking book on how reformed public water services can achieve the goal of delivering water for all.
- Radical Gardening. George McKay. France Lincoln, 2010
- Robert Albritton, Let Them Eat Junk: How Capitalism Creates Hunger and Obesity, New York: Pluto, 2009. The world food crisis involves global patterns of malnutrition -- 25% of the world is obese or overweight; 25% is starving.
- First the Seed: The Political Economy of Plant Biotechnology, 1492-2000. Jack Kloppenburg.
- Aoki, K., 2008. Seed Wars: Controversies and Cases on Plant Genetic Resources and Intellectual
Property. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.
- The Future Control of Food. A Guide to International Negotiations and Rules on Intellectual Property, Biodiversity and Food Security. Edited By Geoff Tansey and Tasmin Rajotte. IDRC, 2010  : “This book is the first wide-ranging guide to the key issues of intellectual property and ownership, genetics, biodiversity and food security."
Political Economy of Agriculture and food production:
- Settlers: Mythology of the White Proletariat (J. Sakai)
Essential classic of Third Worldist theory. "a revolutionary work in every sense of the word."
URL = http://www.scribd.com/doc/14446077/Settlers- Mythology-of-the-White-Proletariat
- A History of World Agriculture (Mazoyer and Roudart)
"Awesome ... history of agriculture. The history of agriculture is really foundational for economic history altogether. Fascinating book."
Key Examples and Case Studies
Key Movements and Projects
- We support the Declaration on Seed Freedom. By Dr. Vandana Shiva.
- The Nutrient Dense Project : voluntary network of farmers, gardeners, orchardists, ranchers, agronomists, writers and researchers is working hard to re-write the rules for the way in which we understand food, the production thereof, and its consumption, all based on sound scientifically credible data that they gather and pay for themselves. The idea is being able to conclusively demonstrate (read: numbers) that soil health = plant health = nutrition."
- FarmHack: a network for sharing open source know-how amongst DIY agricultural tech innovators
- AtelierPaysan.fr in France
Key Policy Documents
- Measures for Relocalization and Reruralization, 2 times four essential policy principles, as proposed by Mariarosa Dalla Costa
- From Depletion to Regenerative Agriculture. Open Market Sustainability policy proposals by Patrick Doherty. 
- Policy propositions for sustaining food & farming systems, for Victoria, Australia
- Six Proposed Policy Principles for Scaling Up Agroecology. By Olivier De Schutter, Gaëtan Vanloqueren
- Grain: Five key steps towards a food system that can address climate change and the food crisis
- Essential Food Policy Proposals. By MARK BITTMAN
- The Sky Charter: the Global Commons of the atmosphere, our shared sky, is a critical context for an enduring and comprehensive solution to global warming.
- Introduction: Energy from the Perspective of the Commons ; Jeff Vail’s Call for a Scale-Free Energy Policy
- George Papanikolaou – Peer to Peer Energy Production and the Social Conflicts in the Era of Green Development; with Vasilis Kostakis, see the P2P Energy Manifesto
- Cap & Share: simple is beautiful
Proposal for a Food Commons Policy, by Jose Luis Vivero Pol
- For a Tri-Centric Governance Model for the Food Commons
- Food as a Commons: for a Food Commons Transition through Universal Food Coverage
- Towards a Commons-Based International Food Treaty
- Why Food Should be a Commons not a Commodity
- Dirt!: excellent documentary
Pages in category "Agrifood"
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