Special Issue "Agroecology at the Crossroads: Challenges for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2017
Agroecology is a scientific approach that comes to studying agrarian production from an ecological perspective through the coordination of different disciplines. It is a hybrid discipline that, together with Ecological Economics, Political Ecology, and Environmental History, seeks to promote sustainable solutions to the environmental crisis. It is an emerging field that has not yet developed an articulated corpus of theoretical and methodological assumptions capable of offering solutions to the serious problems that compromise the future of agriculture and food in the world. In spite of this, Agroecology has undergone major development, particularly in its practical strand, developing new management strategies for agroecosystems and alternative ways of organising the food distribution. However, equal progress has not been made in other relevant aspects.
Within the purely scientific sphere, there are certain underdeveloped issues such as: the design of sustainable management for agroecosystems at more aggregated scales than the individual farms or local communities; the establishment of an ‘agroecological microeconomy’, adapting the approaches and tools of Ecological Economics to the peculiarities of agriculture and rural world; and, similarly, the proposition of agroecological policies and a new institutional framework on the basis of Political Ecology. Within the more practical or applied sphere, the creation of strategies capable of constructing more sustainable food systems, based on a closer and more direct relationship between production and consumption, has not been developed to the extent one might expect given the multitude of local agroecological experiments developed everywhere, etc.
Following its initial success, and urged on by the severity of the global food crisis, Agroecology is facing some very important challenges that it must tackle and debate as collectively and broadly as possible. For example, how to avoid the academic and political co-optation it has been subject to as a scientific approach for some time now. This attempt to co-optation aims to strip Agroecology of its potential for change from an epistemological perspective and also from the perspective of its unavoidable social commitment to sustainability, fostering a ‘weak’ or merely ‘technological’ version of agrarian sustainability and separating it from its inescapable commitment to transform the conventional food system. In this respect, there is on-going debate around so-called ‘ecological intensification’ and how it fits into Agroecology. It is also facing more practical but equally important challenges. How, for example, to prevent agroecological experiences reverting to conventional production and distribution, a process called by the scientific literature as ‘conventionalisation’ process.
This Special Issue invites papers that reflect on these and other challenges faced by Agroecology, or papers offering specific solutions to them, with the seriousness and rigour required by scientific debate and this journal.
Dr. Manuel González de Molina
Dr. Gloria Guzman
Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.
Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.
- local food systems
- sustainable landscapes
- agroecological movements and experiences
- food Sovereignty
- political Agroecology
- agroecological Economics
The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.
Authors: Albie Miles, Kamuela Enos, Kamana Beamer, Manulani Meyer, Noa Lincoln, Brandon Ledward
Abstract: The food system of Hawaii is at a cross roads. With a population of over 1.4 million people, the U.S. state of Hawaii is the most geographically isolated landmass in the world. Importing an estimated 90 percent of its food, fertilizer, energy and seed, the Hawaiian Islands are uniquely vulnerable to state wide food insecurity in the face of global climate change, fuel price fluctuations and other economic disturbances. The post--‐plantation agricultural economy remains largely oriented toward external markets, with the diversified agriculture sector limited by a range of social, economic and political obstacles. High rates of food insecurity and diet--‐related health disparities have long impacted the native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities, while much prime agricultural land lays idle or slatted for development. Legal cases over access to water and land remain unresolved for many communities, while concerns over the environmental quality, human health and economic and cultural self--‐determination feature prominently in conversations about the future of food and agriculture in Hawaii. Here we discuss the history of pre--contact food and farming systems of Hawaii, colonial dispossession of indigenous Hawaiians from their land and water resources for sugar production, and its ecological and social impacts. The paper will address how indigenous scholars in the UH system are working in collaboration with NGOs, land owners, the philanthropic community and community practitioners to integrate the science of agroecology with traditional ecological knowledge in creating a more socially equitable and ecologically sustainable food and agricultural systems for Hawai‘i.
Keywords: Hawai‘I; indigenous agriculture; agroecology; food systems; food sovereignty