In March 2011 a report was presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council on "Agroecology and the Right to Food." I find this study particularly interesting, as it draws some very strong conclusions and references 89 different studies on the topic.
Here are some quotes from the press release by Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur:
To feed 9 billion people in 2050, we urgently need to adopt the most efficient farming techniques available. Today's scientific evidence demonstrates that agroecological methods outperform the use of chemical fertilizers in boosting food production where the hungry live - especially in unfavorable environments.
Knowledge came to replace pesticides and fertilizers. This was a winning bet, and comparable results abound in other African, Asian and Latin American countries.
To date, agroecological projects have shown an average crop yield increase of 80% in 57 developing countries, with an average increase of 116% for all African projects. Recent projects conducted in 20 African countries demonstrated a doubling of crop yields over a period of 3-10 years.
We won't solve hunger and stop climate change with industrial farming on large plantations. The solution lies in supporting small-scale farmers' knowledge and experimentation, and in raising incomes of smallholders so as to contribute to rural development.
The review of recent scientific literature concludes that small-scale agroecological farmers can double food production within 10 years while greatly reducing poverty and malnutrition/starvation. Agroecology increases the availability (productivity at field level), accessibility (reducing rural poverty), adequacy (improving nutrition), and sustainability (adapting to climate change) of food production. The report also covers public policies that could be used to scale up agroecology.
I think this is a POWERFUL tool in any permaculturists tool kit, as agroecology is in many ways a scientific synonym for permaculture
Here are the links to the report and press release:
Zach, thanks for posting that. The pdf is rather challenging to read, but so much of what they put into that document is right-on permaculture. I still think it is amazing that so few people seem to realize that conventional agriculture is not the answer to world hunger, and are unaware that there are methods being used and developed that are so much better at producing food without destroying the earth and elements we need to restore ecosystem health.
So, I guess all of us who are trying to implement permaculture, on whatever scale we can, are part of this agroecology movement, right?