The planet continues drifting on the waves of international meetings while powerful peasant movements are organising. The present levels of human and nature pollution brought about by an agro-industrial model are not sustainable on the long run.
A transition is needed that takes into account what farming is and who the farmers are. New tools and mechanisms are to be invented with a shift in focus. This needs a revisiting of preconceived assumptions and rigid approaches. Rather than perpetuating the idea of the poor small farmer, it is time to understand family farmers, also called peasants, for what they are: solid professionals with wide skills, rooted in time and space, with the ability to produce value at local level and wealth at global level.
The biggest confusion has been to imagine that peasants function with the same logic as business entrepreneurs. But their degree of autonomy, their contact with nature, the quality of their labour and their relationship to markets are totally different. Rather than blocking the hidden potential for intensive farming on offer in local communities and rather than ignoring the ability to produce with nature in a way that opens up future choices, the proposed transition is one that builds upon these skills. Viable forms of farming exist and are evolving in different parts of the world and many transitions are proving successful. Twelve steps are proposed here, together with their supportive policies, to accompany and trigger transitions towards ways of crafting the living world in the rural and the urban environments that are more adapted to the third millennium.
The Agricultural transition booklet (112 pages) is written by Angela Hilmi and published by the More and Better Network (www.moreandbetter.org). It was launched in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil during the Rio+20 conference, and is published in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. You can order copies from secretariatATmoreandbetter.org (Euro 5 per copy + postal costs)
A new website – www.ag-transition.org was launched in the beginning of June 2012 with a lot of case studies, reports and articles about different forms of sustainable agriculture and about policies for transitions into sustainable and viable food production.