Geography 1500F/G Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Via Campesina, Food Sovereignty, Land Tenure

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1500f: lecture 10: October 19th, 2016: Food and agriculture part 2
Last time we talked about:
Challenges for agriculture
How intensive agriculture has responded to these challenges
How alternative approaches to agriculture address the challenges
Key debates
Agriculture’s challenges
Feed the global population equally
Maintain ecosystem services
Provide livelihoods
Contribute to identity and culture
Intensive agriculture: social outcomes
North America:
o Fewer farmers, larger farms
o Farmers increasingly rely on off-farm employment (high capital costs of
o Migrant labour for some tasks
o Dependence on cash crops makes farmers vulnerable to price
o Low-paid, insecure plantation work
o Land tenure issues: small farmers may be displaced for large investors
o Land deals, “land grabs:
Challenge: contribute to identity and culture
In what ways does modern, intensive/industrial farming contribute to identity and
o Changing ideas of how food is supposed to look to be appealing
o Sense of pride of being a part of an efficient system and producing a lot of
food and that health and safety regulations have improved
o System hasn’t been all bad but are some things to appreciate
Alternative visions of agriculture
Love in-put agriculture
o Common in much of the ‘developing’ world
o Polyculture: a variety of crops and livestock
o Mixture of subsistence (for household consumption and market
production (to sell)
o Low capital inputs, high labour
Low priced fertilizers and soil, seeds, etc.
Food movements and other strategies
o “the application of ecological concepts and principles to the design and
management of sustainable agriculture ecosystems” – Altieri 2009
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