October 1 marked the beginning of 2019's 16 Days of Action on Agroecology, a global event spearheaded by our partners at PAN Asia and the Pacific (PANAP). This year’s global campaign will focus on the role of youth in agroecology, with the theme “Youth March On for Agroecology and Food Sovereignty!”
The goal of the days of action is to raise awareness on the benefits of agroecology for food security, public health, the environment, land and resources, and community economies.
Organized youth, women, farmers, and activists from at least 20 countries are expected to participate, reaching over 600,000 people across the globe. Activities will range from awareness-raising through symposiums and public assemblies, to media campaigns and lobbying.
Agroecology: For food sovereignty and climate stability
For millions of small scale farmers and food producers, access to land and resources has been undermined by corporate control of agriculture. As small scale, family and community-managed farms are replaced with industrial scale commodity crops for international markets, the food security and sovereignty of small food producers is in peril. Threats to traditional and Indigenous crop varieties have also intensified.
With the growing threat of climate crisis, utilizing more biodiverse, agroecological systems of food production to promote food security is more important than ever. Studies and experiences of small-scale producers worldwide have demonstrated that agroecology has sustained and fed communities, and agroecological farming systems are more resilient to climate-related disasters.
Youth at the forefront
Young farmers have enormous potential for promoting agroecological farming in their communities, yet they face many challenges to success, such as a lack of access to land.
Today’s youth are facing these challenges head on, playing integral roles in shifts toward agroecology. They organize trainings for agricultural practices, launch farmer advocacy groups, and promote farmworker rights. They are a positive force in building a global solidarity of movements of farmers, rural women, Indigenous peoples, small food producers, consumers, advocates and others toward agroecology.
These efforts are vital both here in the U.S. and around the world. These 16 Days of Action lift up this main goal: “To generate solidarity among the youth across the globe to push for policy changes at the local, national and international levels for agroecology.”
A collective effort
PAN North America is proud to join our PAN International partners for the 16 Days of Global Action on Agroecology. A productive, resilient, equitable and sustainable food system — brought about by agroecology — has always been the solution we believe best addresses the myriad problems created by our chemical-intensive food and agriculture system.
Over the next couple of weeks, we will celebrate the importance of agroecology, lifting up success stories of farmers who use agroecological practices, and introducing you to young farmers leading agroecology movements.
We’ll also be taking this conversation to the United Nations. PAN Senior Scientist Marcia Ishii-Eiteman will be traveling to Rome to attend a series of meetings at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization on world food security and agroecology. Keep an eye out for her dispatches from the ground! (@MarciaIshii and @pesticideaction)