Oxford Real Farming Conference Fringe 2012

Magdalen College, Oxford

PRESENTATIONS (PDF and Audio) available BELOW

Download PDF of Programme and references (100kb)

Policy Opportunities for Agroecology

A strategy session to discuss policy opportunities to promote ecological and equitable models of sustainable food production and consumption.

Friday 6th January, 13:30 to 15:30, Old Law Library

Chaired by: Patrick Mulvany

Speakers: Julia Wright, Geoff Tansey, Michel Pimbert

While “local food webs”, many of them ecological, will continue to feed most people in the world, “top-level processes" will grab the headlines. Some will culminate in 2012, including the UN Rio+20 conference and the launch of the ‘Green Economy'. Other UN processes, on the governance of food, biodiversity and climate change will continue to seek sustainable outcomes. In Europe, CAP reforms will be a hot topic. The UK will stage a global scientific event “Planet under Pressure” which will discuss solutions, at all scales, to move societies on to a sustainable pathway, providing scientific leadership towards Rio+20.

In this context, the session will focus on how to change mindsets towards the benefits of ecological and equitable models of sustainable food production and consumption in the UK, Europe and Internationally. What opportunities exist for the UK's and the world's pressure groups to influence thinking and the outcomes? How can the small-scale food producers' policy proposal of food sovereignty take root – a proposal which addresses all aspects of sustainability?

The session will ask questions about the UK's food footprint in its export of unsustainable models of production to other regions. Also questions about the UK's demands from other regions for commodities produced industrially using British technologies and products may be addressed. These are topics that are also likely to feature prominently in discussions in the run-up to the UK's 2013 Presidency of G8/G20.


Audio is available in both Windows Media (WMA) and MP3 formats


Introduction: Patrick Mulvany – opportunities to promote ‘Ecological Food Provision' in the framework of food sovereignty (8 min) Presentation (PDF 130Kb)Audio (WMA 1Mb)Audio (MP3 1.2Mb)

Julia Wright: how to ‘Change Mindsets' towards the benefits of ecological and equitable models of sustainable food production and consumption in the UK (13 min) Presentation (PDF 280Kb); Audio (WMA 1.7Mb); Audio (MP3 2.4Mb)

Michel Pimbert: how to promote thinking about the ‘Transformation of the Food System' at all levels so that it puts the realisation of food sovereignty at its heart (13 min) Presentation (PDF 860Kb); Audio (WMA 1.7Mb); Audio (MP3 2.4Mb)

Geoff Tansey: why and how food is at the heart choosing our future world, who'll dominate it, in part through the ‘New Enclosures' facilitated by the extension to living systems of the global patent regime, etc (15 min) Presentation (PDF 247Kb); Audio (WMA 2Mb); Audio (MP3 2.9Mb)

Discussion We will discuss and seek ideas about how to develop and occupy policy and communications spaces, identifying who will help achieve this. Panel Comments (11 Min) Audio (WMA 1.4Mb); Audio (MP3 1.9Mb)

Actions: for example, developing work in support of the APPG Agroecology - proposal for a UK Agroecology Alliance. Download PDF of UK Agroecology Alliance paper (250kb)

Final Discussion and Panel comments (26 min) Audio (WMA 3.2Mb); Audio (MP3 4.6Mb)


Speakers' Biographies

Patrick Mulvany - Senior Policy Adviser, Practical Action / Chair, UK Food Group

Patrick Mulvany is senior policy adviser to Practical Action, formerly the Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG). His work focuses on policy and practice to realise food sovereignty in many countries in the world, as well as related issues of the governance of food, agricultural biodiversity and technology.

He was an NGO member of the governing bureau of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD).

He is Chair of the UK Food Group (UKFG), an independent network of UK organisations concerned with global food and farming issues that is located within Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming. Among other issues, the UKFG promotes ecological food provision in the framework of food sovereignty, as a way of securing future food. The UKFG also represents the UK NGO network BOND (British Overseas NGOs for Development) in the European Food Security Group of CONCORD, the NGO liaison body for the European Commission.

Patrick is an active participant in the civil society lobbies at the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FAO) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as well as in the international food sovereignty networks, which organised Nyéléni 2007 in Mali, the 2009 People's Forum in Rome, and Nyéléni Europe 2011 Forum for Food Sovereignty in Austria.

Dr. Michel Pimbert - Principal Researcher and Team Leader (Food and Agriculture), International Institute for Environment and Development

Dr. Michel Pimbert is currently Principal Researcher and Team Leader for Agroecology and Food Sovereignty at the UK based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED  www.iied.org  ). An agricultural ecologist by training, he previously worked at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in India, the University François Rabelais de Tours in France, and the World Wide Fund for Nature in Switzerland. He has also done research for the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), The World Conservation Union (IUCN), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).  Dr. Pimbert has been a Board member of several international NGOs working on food sovereignty, sustainable agriculture and human rights. He is currently the Deputy Chair of the Commission on Environment, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) of The World Conservation Union (IUCN).

Michel's work centres on food sovereignty and citizenship, sustainable agriculture and livelihoods, the political ecology of natural resource and biodiversity management, as well as participatory action research and deliberative democratic processes.

 Julia Wright - Deputy Director, Centre for Agroecology and Food Security, Coventry University

Dr. Julia Wright is Deputy Director of the Centre for Agroecology and Food Security, a joint applied research and development initiative of Coventry University and Garden Organic, based in the Midlands, where she is responsible for the development of applied research projects in the thematic areas of the centre, the development and running of higher education and professional development courses, and postgraduate supervision

Julia has over 25 years' experience in sustainable agricultural applied research and development, with a focus on the application of agroecological, organic and permaculture principles and approaches to contemporary farming issues. She has worked for government, the UN and CGIAR systems, non-government organisations and the private sector, and has worked in a broad range of countries in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa

Julia has supervised masters students on agriculture in humanitarian contexts (Sri Lanka) and indigenous ethno-botany (Tanzania), PhD students on institutional aspects of organic agriculture (Jordan), and on climate change and agriculture in the UK, and has been external examiner for PhDs in mixed farming systems (Cuba) at Wageningen University. She is a leading expert in Cuban farming and food systems post-1990, and sits on the editorial board of the International Journal of Cuban Studies.

Julia is a Deployable Civilian Expert with the government's Stabilisation Unit and has undergone hostile environment awareness training. She undertakes consultancy work, previously for the FAO, IFAD, Coventry University, International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, Overseas Development Institute, Learning by Design, Garden Organic, and the Government Office for Science. She has served on the board of trustees for the Bioregional Development Group and Steering Committee of Transition Town Leamington, and is currently on the editorial board of the International Journal of Cuban Studies


Geoff Tansey - writer and consultant

Geoff Tansey has worked on food, agriculture and development issues since the mid-1970s, when helped found and edit the journal Food Policy. He has degrees in Soil Science and History and Social Studies of Science and has worked on various agricultural development projects in Turkey, Mongolia, Albania and Kazakhstan. Geoff has been a freelance writer, consultant, and occasional broadcaster since the early 1980s and has contributed to The Guardian, Financial Times, BBC Farming World and BBC Farming Today, as well as having written and edited a range of books, including The Food System - a guide (1995) and The Future Control of Food – guide to international negotiations and rules on intellectual property, biodiversity and food security (2008). He received a Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust Visionaries for a Just and Peaceful World award in 2005, the Derek Cooper Award for ‘best food campaigner /educator' in the 2008 BBC Food and Farming Awards and was the joint winner of the award for campaigning writing by the Guild of Food Writers in 2009. He has been a member of the Food Ethics Council since 2000 and is an honorary visiting fellow at Bradford and Newcastle Universities.



Securing Future Food: towards ecological food provision. UK Food Group (2010)


This Briefing shows how the systems that currently feed most people globally are smaller-scale and locally-sourced could be enhanced to feed all the world's growing population. To achieve this, research and trade policies and agricultural support measures urgently need to be reoriented towards promoting the practices of small-scale food providers based on their ecological, resilient and biodiverse food production systems in the framework of food sovereignty.

The Future Control of Food: A Guide to International Negotiations and Rules on Intellectual Property, Biodiversity and Food Security. Geoff Tansey and Tasmin Rajotte (2008)
www.idrc.ca/en/ev-1180 94-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html

This book is the first wide-ranging guide to the key issues of intellectual property and ownership, genetics, biodiversity and food security. Proceeding from an introduction and overview of the issues, comprehensive chapters cover international negotiations and instruments The final part discusses the responses of civil society groups to the changing global rules, how these changes affect the direction of research and development, the nature of global negotiation processes and various alternative futures.


Towards food sovereignty: Reclaiming autonomous food systems. Michel Pimbert (2010)   www.iied.org/natural-resources/key-issues/food-and-agriculture/multimedia-publication-towards-food-sovereignty-re

This online book describes the ecological basis of food and agriculture, the social and environmental costs of modern food systems, and the policy reversals needed to democratize food systems. It has full colour photo illustrations and linked video and audio files.


Virtuous Circles: Values, Systems and Sustainability. Andy Jones, Michel Pimbert and Janice Jiggins (2011) pubs.iied.org/G03177.html

This book shows how the principles that minimise external inputs, pollution and waste (as well as risk, dependency and costs) by adopting a circular metabolism can be used to create systems and settlements that provide food, energy and water without consuming large quantities of fossil fuels and other finite resources. In the process, greenhouse gas emissions and environmental pollution are minimised whilst human well being, food and livelihood security, and democratic control are enhanced.

Feeding Nine Billion in a Low Emissions Economy: Challenging, but Possible. Julia Wright (2010) www.odi.org.uk/resources/details.asp?id=5215


Mainstreaming an Agroecological Approach: the Implications for Farming and Food Systems Worldwide. Wibbelmann (2011) . wwwm.coventry.ac.uk/researchnet/cafs/Pages/cafs.asp

The aim of the Centre for Agroecology and Food Security (CAFS) is to conduct critical, rigorous and relevant research which will contribute to the development of agricultural and food production practices, which are economically sound, socially just and promote long-term protection of natural resources .

address: UKFG, c/o Sustain, Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street, EC2A 4LT, UK
telephone: 0207 065 0879 email: ukfg@ukfg.org.uk

Last updated: 09/01/2012