Agroecology has gained ground in recent years as the need to transform our agrifood system becomes increasingly clear. The global free market food system, based on industrial farming and commodity exports, has destroyed ecosystems and widened the hunger gap. Global agrarian justice and food sovereignty movements, organised in global convergences like the Nyéléni Forum, have emphasised the importance of agroecology in this transformation.
At the same time, the growing recognition of these challenges, and of agroecology as the solution, has led a wide range of actors to try to co-opt the term ‘agroecology’ in different ways. In particular big business, and some NGOs, states and intergovernmental organisations that support them, are pushing for a narrow vision of agroecology, based on addressing some environmental harms associated with industrial agriculture. Even on those terms this vision is inadequate, only partially addressing environmental damage. Beyond this, it undermines agroecology’s transformative potential through either preserving or deepening the inequality, exploitation, and power imbalances behind the current agrifood system.
‘Junk Agroecology’: The corporate capture of agroecology for a partial ecological transition without social justice, a report from Friends of the Earth International, Crocevia and the Transnational Institute, examines three key public private initiatives for ‘Sustainable Agriculture’ linked to agribusiness corporations like Nestle, Pepsico, Cargill, Unilever, and the World Economic Forum. It finds they use these governance initiatives to keep pursuing their agenda of intensification, free market ideology and corporate capture of decision-making processes, under the guise of promoting agroecology.