Dr. Miguel Altieri


Monday, February 27, 2023 - 3:30pm

Paige 202 or Zoom -- See Details

Refreshments at 3pm.

All Seminar Sessions are from 3:30pm to 4:30pm.

You can attend the Zoom session with others, in person, in Paige 202.  Or you can join by Zoom from your own location.


To join Zoom meeting:


Meeting ID: 953 3839 9246

Passcode: Seminar


Climate change constitutes only a manifestation of a cascade of catastrophes that are threatening the industrial agriculture model. Industrial agriculture covers 80% of the global arable land with vulnerable genetically homogenous and ecologically narrow monocultures, dependent on large quantities of agrochemical inputs that threaten biodiversity and human health. The agrochemical dependency of food systems has now been exposed by the Russia-Ukraine armed conflict which sent fertilizer prices skyrocketing, coupled with surging food prices raising the prospect of world food shortages. All this is on top of efforts by countries to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic which disrupted food systems worldwide, affecting food security and the nutrition of rural and urban populations. 


These scenarios prompt a key survival question for humanity: how ready is our industrial food system to confront the polycrisis (energy shortages, water scarcity, environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, climate change, economic inequality, food insecurity, military conflicts and others) affecting our planet? 


Agroecology holds a transformative potential to cope with future challenges posed by ecological ruptures by designing agroecosystems that exhibit high levels of diversity and resilience, both emergent properties known to reduce risk from climate change or other threats, while delivering sufficient yields and providing key ecosystem services to society. Agroecology shows a different way forward by providing the principles on how to design and manage agricultural systems best able to withstand future crises – whether pest outbreaks, pandemics, climate disruptions, or financial meltdowns, by territorializing food production and consumption. Thousands of agroecological initiatives around the world that revitalize peasant and modern farming systems by improving food sovereignty while contributing to biodiversity conservation at the farm and landscape level. Agroecological designs involve plant species and genetic diversification enhancement to boost the overall resilience of food systems against new climate and environmental changes. 


But ‘ecologizing’ the required agricultural revolution will not be sufficient to reduce hunger and poverty, conserve biodiversity and enhance climate resiliency. Transformative change in agriculture involves dismantling the industrial agrifood complex and the corporate control over production and consumption. It requires restoring local food systems with greater reliance on alternative food networks and solidarious alliances between producers and consumers, and the promotion of conducive policies.


Dr. Jaime Piñero