Agro-ecology as a leverage in education for sustainable agriculture?

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    The current industrial agricultural system consumes external inputs like water, fossil fuel and artificial fertilizers at unsustainable rates. It contributes to numerous forms of environmental degradation and doesn’t succeed in feeding the global population successfully. Furthermore, latest news reports of demonstrating farmers indicate also many social and economic problems related to their farm income. An expanding academic field suggests agroecology as a possible solution to these problems and the concept is gaining recognition within society as a valid alternative in the search for more sustainable food production and consumption systems. The agricultural model using principles of agroecology strives for optimal yields without the use of external inputs but through utilizing services the agro-ecosystem can offer itself. Also social and economic aspects as food sovereignty, autonomy for the farmer and resilience are important principles. However, the implementation of agroecology in practice is very knowledge intensive and asks for specific skills and competencies. Furthermore, it requires a shift in the way farmers think and act as the current regime proves that the agricultural system cannot rely solely on technological solutions, policy recommendations and financial instruments. Walker (2002) states that new skills and methods are needed to apply new ways of thinking in managing a complex agricultural production system. Furthermore, with the UN ‘Decade of Education for Sustainable Development’ (UNESCO, 2005-2014), the importance of education in the transition towards a sustainable society and more specific towards a sustainable agricultural system is widely recognized. However, at this point it is unclear if and how agroecology is being incorporated in education. Therefore, we recently started a project entitled ‘Agroecology as a leverage for education in sustainable agri- and horticulture.’ In this project, we will screen the current educational package on the incorporation of agroecology as an approach towards sustainable farming systems for the case of Flanders. Furthermore, we will investigate how education addresses the required knowledge and competencies. Lastly, we will translate the results into policy recommendations. This paper focusses on the methodology and some preliminary results.
    Aantal pagina's3
    StatusGepubliceerd - nov-2015
    Evenement4th Belgian Agroecology Meeting (BAM) - Leuven, België
    Duur: 17-nov-201517-nov-2015


    Congres4th Belgian Agroecology Meeting (BAM)


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