the emergent kitchen

The emergent kitchen: “food for life” in Ecuador in the face of COVID-19

The contradictions between the highly rational, commodified, competitive ‘masculinity’ of industrial food and the feminist preoccupation with life have become increasingly evident during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ecuador. Meanwhile, a growing number of families are finding inspiration in the ‘Emergent Kitchen’ programme, created by a collection of social movements that utilises the kitchen as a space of encounter and re-constitution of the possibility of ‘food for life’

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las redes alternativas

Las Redes Alternativas de Alimentos como contra-movimiento: el encuentro entre la modernización y la soberanía alimentaria en Ecuador.

En este artículo, aplicamos una perspectiva social crítica para entender el desempeño político de la soberanía alimentaria para suplantar la modernización. Específicamente, partimos de estudios empíricos provenientes de tres intervenciones del Estado para fo- mentar la soberanía alimentaria: la creación de las Escuelas de la Re- volución Agraria, las canastas comunitarias, y las controversias sobre cultivos transgénicos. Luego, consideramos las contrapropuestas de algunas Redes Alternativas de Alimentos (RAA), entendidas como un movimiento sub-político frente a la modernización, que abre nuevas posibilidades y subjetividades asociadas con la comida para avanzar en las diferentes relaciones sociales y biológicas a favor de la salud, sustentabilidad y equidad social.

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enabling more regenerative

Enabling more regenerative agriculture, food, and nutrition in the Andes.

The relation bio-power of “seeds”

In this chapter, we employ a relational perspective to shed fresh light on three strategic interventions in food diversification as a means of helping rural people in the remote Andes to address their health concerns: 1) the multiple-purpose re-introduction of high-protein legumes to address nutritional deficiencies in vulnerable infants and mothers as well as soil fertility in Potosí, Bolivia, 2) the promotion of native potato landraces with high iron, zinc, and vitamin C in Huancavelica, Perú, and 3) the introduction of a vegetable food-basket or canasta as a means of creating demand and culture for nutrient-rich vegetables during the first “1,000 days of life” in Imbabura, Ecuador. In reflecting on these experiences, we ask, how is agrobiodiversity part of life regenerating forces of process and the emergence of more regenerative food and nutrition?

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assessing responsible food

Assessing responsible  food consumption in three Ecuadorian city regions

This chapter starts with the context in which we worked, the conceptu- alization of dimensions of responsible food consumption, and the empirical approach that we took to assessment. We then share our initial results of measurement of the dimensions and the overall Responsible Consumption Index (RCI) and its relation to healthy eating indicators. We discuss the implications of our work and conclude with potential directions for research and application.

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Security via sovereignty

Security via Sovereignty

Lessons from the Global South

The sovereignty lens also reveals ironies inherent in the production and delivery components of the food system. For example, sometimes, the same trucks that trans- port organic produce from the rural “salad-bowl” areas to the cities are the same ones that bring back from port cities the less expensive canned produce gathered and pro- cessed elsewhere, at times from halfway around the world.

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The vitality of everyday food

A great deal of energy has been invested in attempts to influence the thinking in science and government on the problems of industrial food and the benefits of agroecology and food sovereignty. Meanwhile, people everywhere must take responsibility for creating the changes they want to see through daily food practices in their families, neighbourhoods and social networks. In addition to organising for ‘resistance’, we call for greater attention to the latent potential in daily living and being, or existence.

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Conclusion The vitality of everyday food

From a methodological standpoint, the chapters share a commitment to real- time study of food practice and a “flat” ontological perspective – that is, free from assumptions of a priori relationships between people and food based, for example, on gender, race, or class. While such social categories may be useful for describing differentiation, their application can become self-reifying, leading to little questioned suppositions on continuity and change.

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Space, power and locality

Space, Power, and Locality: the Contemporary Use of Territorio in Latin American Geography

The article unfolds across two sections. The first summarizes diverse conceptualizations of space, power, and locality, which are understood to be core elements of territorio, particularly when these are linked through actions, demands, or claims of a collective. The second section approaches the thematic contexts in which territorio and its associated concepts are used: as spatial entities of jurisdictional administration, appropriation by indigenous, afro and peasant communities, political demands and social movements, control-dispossession and reconstruction, spatial entities of assets, and place-based development. We argue that an understanding of the multiple uses and interpretations of territory in Latin America does not just reveal the uniquely nuanced ways of thinking about geography in the region, but it also raises questions over the possibility of a multiple construction of key geographical concepts.

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Food embodiments, assemblages and intersubjectivies in Latin America: ebbs and flows of critical food studies

Economic subsidies and technological developments since the turn of the twentieth century, but in particular since the Second World War, have contributed to a revolution in the production, distribution, and consumption of food. To date, the field of agrofood studies largely analyzed developments by assessing the diffusion of technologies and change in state-based agriculture support policies. Compelling examples include studies of the emergence of cow’s milk as a popular drink for humans in the United States (DuPuis, 2002), the industrialization of Dutch agriculture and the arrival of the “virtual farmer” (van der Ploeg, 2003), and the rise of the international development industry and the institutionalization of technology transfer in the Americas (Flora and Flora, 1989). The nation-state, in both developed and developing countries, has strategically promoted highly intensive forms of food production and circulation, thereby making food an object and objective of economic development and productivity policies.

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Circuitos cortos de comercialización

Circuitos cortos de comercialización agroecológica en el Ecuador

Este artículo analiza los factores que fomentan la sostenibilidad de los circuitos cortos de comercialización de la Unión de Organizaciones Productoras Agroecológicas y de Comercialización Asociativa de Tungurahua (PACAT), en Ecuador. Con base en revisión documental, visitas y entrevistas a informantes clave, las autoras encontraron que la viabilidad de esta estrategia económica depende de la fortaleza de las instituciones informales que mantiene la organización social, lo que permite reducir los costos de transacción, mejorando de esta manera la eficiencia económica. Es así que los circuitos cortos de comercialización pueden contribuir al fomento de la producción agroecológica. Adicionalmente, el estudio indica los retos administrativos que las organizaciones enfrentan cuando intentan legalizarce.

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250,000 families campaign


The existence of flavor and taste

Here, we join Deleuze in seeking to depart from a highly representational perspec- tive of reality in food studies where we are confronted with a dominant and popular figuration: food movements as “resistance.”The academic literature and activist move- ments alike summarize food activism as a “fight” that involves historically marginalized peoples (especially, the indigenous and peasant farmers) and their enlightened, sometimes self-assigned representatives against the avarice of global capi- talism in industry,the state and science (see for example,Petras andVeltmeyer,2011). While we do not doubt that this imagery represents a particular aspect of food move- ments, resistance thinking is strongly founded in an abstract understanding of social change as primarily an issue of struggle and the occupation of formalized institutions.

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el reto 250 mil familias

El Reto 250 Mil familias: Realizar prácticas alimentarias para la salud, equidad y sostenibilidad en Ecuador.

En Ecuador, miles de familias se han unido en una campaña que promueve el consumo de alimentos frescos y agroecológicos producidos por pequeños agricultores. La mayoría de éstos alimentos son cultivos nativos y se venden directamente a los consumidores en puntos de venta y ferias. Éstas familias, rurales y urbanas, fortalecen las culturas y economías locales, así como la organización social. Basados en su necesidad diaria de alimentarse, generan un nuevo valor sobre la comida, por granja agroecológica, sostienen un cartel de la campaña. Foto: Eduar ejemplo, trabajando con chefs que Pinzón Cano promueven nuevos sabores y platos asociados a la cocina andina. El público apoya la agroecología, ya que se organiza en torno a las ventajas del “buen comer” – es decir, el uso de los alimentos como un medio para la salud, la sostenibilidad y la equidad social. El lema de la campaña es: Somos 250.000 familias que comemos sano, rico y de nuestra tierra.

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250,000 families reconnecting

250,000 Families! Reconnecting urban and rural people for healthier, more sustainable living

Much energy has been invested in informing political leaders about the problems of industrial food and the benefits of agro-ecology. Following three decades of focusing primarily on good farming, Ecuador’s Colectivo Agroecológico now believes that people, as “consumer-citizens”, can and must take responsibility for a better future. Such a grassroots counter-response to “modern food” may play a key role in the transformation towards a sustainable and just city-region food system in Ecuador.

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the 250 thousand

The 250 thousand Families Challenge: Bringing to bear food practice on health, equity and sustainability in Ecuador

In Ecuador thousands of families have joined a campaign that promotes fresh, agroecological food produced by family farmers. Most of these foods are from native crops and are sold directly to consumers at outdoor markets and food fairs. These rural and urban families strengthen local cultures and economies as well as social organization. Based in their daily need to eat, they generate new value in food, for example by working with chefs who promote new flavors and plates tied to Andean cuisine. The public creates support for agroecology as it organizes around the advantages of “eating well” – i.e., utilizing food as a means for health, sustainability and social equity. The campaign’s motto is: We are 250,000 families who eat healthy, delicious food from our land.

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Self-organization and the bypass

Self-Organization and the Bypass: Re-Imagining Institutions for More Sustainable Development in Agriculture and Food

In exploring the social dynamics of agrofood movements in Ecuador as examples of self-organization (i.e., locally distributed and resolved development), this article departs from a preoccupation with innovation by means of design and the use of scaling as a metaphor for describing research contributions in agriculture and food. The case material highlights that much development is contingent, unpredictable, and unmanageable as well as unbound to fixed spaces or places. In their study of people’s daily practice, the authors do not find clear boundaries between dichotomies of internal–external, lay–expert, traditional–modern, or local–global organization, but heterogeneous blends of each. For the purposes of sustainable development, this highlights the need for attention to be paid to relationships (social, material, and biological), adaptation (the capacity to innovate), and responsibility (adherence to norms of sustainability). Far from romanticizing self-organization, the authors acknowledge that people and their institutions share varying degrees of complicity for the goods as well as the bads of their economic activity, such as mass soil degradation, agrobiodiversity loss, and poisoning by pesticides. Nevertheless, even under highly difficult conditions, certain actors effectively bypass the limitations of formal institutions in forging a socio-technical course of action (i.e., policy) for relatively healthy living and being. As such, the authors have come to appreciate self-organization as a neglected, if paradoxical, resource for policy transition towards more sustainable agriculture and food.

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La contingencia de cambio

La contingencia del cambio social en la agricultura y la alimentación en América Latina

Presentación del dossier

En esta edición especial de Íconos. Revista de Ciencias Sociales, consideramos a la cien- cia social del desarrollo en la agricultura y alimentación como un campo de colusión, choque y competencia entre entidades dedicadas a la generación de narrativas de la realidad. Actualmente la narrativa predominante entre las posiciones que apoyan al capitalismo, tanto como la mayor parte de críticos al neoliberalismo, entienden capital, libre mercado y Estado como entidades naturales y fuerzas impulsoras del desarrollo.

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Interfaces of school

Interfaces of school food procurement and family farming: the social cosntitution of the “30% Law” 11947/2009

The objective of this text is to explore how people, organized around emergent positions, interests and political agendas, utilise, navigate and mobilise the resources of seemingly contrasting policies – i.e., Rural Development and Food Security – for competing, colliding and colluding purposes. In the process, they generate new market logics and quality criteria that, over time, come to represent alternatives to agricultural modernisation.

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Between Ecuadorian

Repositioning food sovereignty

Between Ecuadorian nationalist and cosmopolitan politics

Faced by the contradictions of “modern food” – i.e., the expert-led, market- oriented, industrial designs of agriculture and food policy – we have become increasingly interested in people’s everyday practices as a largely neglected public policy resource (Sherwood et al. 2013). In particular, we are interested in how food counter-movements are materialized and constructed through the interplay, contestation and negotiation of values and interests within specific public debates. Drawing on calls for a paradigm shift in the social sciences from “methodological nationalism” to “methodological cosmopolitanism” (Beck 2006; Beck, Block, Tyfield and Zhang 2013), this chapter explores the experience of Ecuador’s lively food sovereignty movement in confronting seemingly omnipotent power and political interests and ultimately shaping policy reforms.

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the future os sustainability

The Future of Sustainability as a Product o the Present: Lessons from Modern Food in Ecuador

Over the last half-century, Ecuador’s food –its production, circulation, procurement, and consumption– has undergone unprecedented change as a result of a highly creative, ambitious socio-technical project: agricultural modernization (Sherwood et al., 2013), linked with the arrival and expansion of large grocery store chains and the introduction of industrially processed foods and food stuffs (Reardon and Berdegúe, 2002). According to Van der Ploeg (2008), the foundation of the modernization movement is an emerging class of technicians, scientists, and industrialists organized around the belief that a better future can be achieved through: com- modification of food, intermediation of social relationships through currency and financial systems, the social and geographic distancing of markets, and dependence on specialized knowledge and technology. Carolan (2011) explains how this ‘expert system’ has come to dominate present-day institutions the world over, profoundly influencing ways of knowing and being with food. Here, we summarize the activity of this widely established and influential socio-technical regime as ‘modern food’.

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Dynamics of perpetuation

Dynamics of Perpetuation

The Politics of Keeping Highly Toxic Pesticides on the Market in Ecuador

Based on reflective practice over 15 years in Ecuador, the authors examine the perpetuation of knowingly harmful public policy in highly toxic pesti- cides. They study how actors cooperate, collude, and collide in advancing certain technological agenda, even when against public interests. Ultimately, entrenchment of perspective opened up space for arrival of new social actors and competing activity and transition. In light of struggles for sustainability, the authors find neglected policy opportunities in the heterogeneity of peo- ples’ daily practices and countermovements, leading to a call for further at- tention to the inherently incoherent, complex, and irresolvable human face of sociotechnical change.

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Linking family nutrition in city and country

Ecuador is going through a substantial nutritional transition. This, coupled with the paradox that rural families that produce food are often those most affected by undernutrition, shows the ironies of ‘modern’ food systems. It also highlights the importance of rural-urban linkages around family nutrition which can help to address such contradictions. This is what we see among families living in two rural villages, San Francisco Alto and Ambuqui, in the north of Ecuador, who through various strategies have managed to achieve healthy, diversified and nutritious diets.

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going from communication

Moving from Communication as Profession to Communication as Being in Northern Ecuador

In this chapter we take a reflective look at the practice of communication in science and development. We deal with public policy in favour of highly harmful pesticide technology (World Health Organization Class 1 products) in northern Ecuador, a region once described as a ‘model for agricultural modernization’ (Barsky 1988) among smallholder farmers. Drawing on multidisciplinary research dating back to the late 1980s,1 we examine the evolving roles that competing actors – operating in both formal and informal institutions – have played in different phases of development in pesticide policy. The case evolves from the arrival, growth, and normalisation
of mass pesticide poisoning as a consequence of publically supported agricultural modernisation, to the enabling of alternatives as a result of the growth in the influence of agroecology and other counter-movements. While, in practice, poisoning by highly toxic chemicals continues to be a major concern in northern Ecuador and elsewhere, in 2008, public policy shifted at the constitutional level to focus on ‘food sovereignty’, leading to legislation for the elimination of Class 1 pesticides from the market in 2010. Here, our objective is to summarise the institutional dynamics involved in the different phases of communication around these pesticides and their alternatives and call attention to what we see as a promising, emergent pathway of communication in research and development practice: ‘Development 3.0’.

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desarrollo 3.0

Desarrollo 3.0

Hacia una Práctica Coherente

Frente a la creciente preocupación sobre el estado de los sistemas alimentarios, la industria del desarrollo rural está viviendo cambios fundamentales. Lo notamos principalmente en los discursos actuales sobre la agricultura y el alimento, que enfatizan la producción amigable con el ambiente, la construcción de economías socialmente justas, el consumo saludable y la concepción del alimento como una expresión cultural. Y también lo notamos en la crisis institucional que están viviendo las organizaciones de investigación y de desarrollo rural.

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El futuro como producto del presente

El futuro como producto del presente: Caso de estudio sobre la modernización agrícola en Carchi, Ecuador

Aplicando una perspectiva social crítica, examinamos como la gente, a través de sus actividades diarias, se organiza para generar múltiples opciones de desarrollo. Tomando como ejemplo nuestras investigaciones sobre la modernización agrícola en el sector papero a lo largo de los últimos 50 años en del norte del Ecuador, explicamos cómo un proyecto histórico global de tecnificación, impulsado por una nueva cultura – los expertos, se adoptó en el país.

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Making sense

Making Sense of Agro-biodiversity, Diet and Intensificaron of Smallholder Family Farming in the Highland Andes of Ecuador

Methods are needed for helping researchers and farmers to interactively describe and analyze local practices in search of opportunities for improving health, environment and economy. The authors worked with smallholder family farmers in five Andean villages in Ecuador to apply Participatory Four-Cell Analysis in characterizing agro- biodiversity. Margelef and Shannon indices examined ecological richness and evenness and a simplified 24-hour dietary recall characterized food consumption. Cross-analysis tested interactions among agro-biodiversity, farm size and diet. Overall trends appeared to work against sustainable intensification, with notable heterogeneity and positive deviance found in the practices of relatively smaller enterprises, representing a potential resource for sustainable intensification. The suite of methods was determined useful for initiating researcher-farmer explorations of promising innovation pathways.

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ser la diferencia

Ser la diferencia puede hacer la diferencia: ¿Es hora de parar el fortalecimiento de capacidades?

Nuestra experiencia como profesionales del desarrollo co- menzó en el auge de las ONG en América Latina, a finales de los años 1980. Fue un período en el que hubo un amplio consenso sobre los males de la Revolución Verde y la transferencia de tecnología, que se resumen aquí (véase la Tabla 1). Nuestra generación se veía a sí misma como pionera, encar- gada de forjar un nuevo camino en la práctica del desarrollo construido con una intensa actividad, responsabilidad local, inclusión y altos grados de interacción y colaboración, y que llegó a ser ampliamente reconocido como “desarrollo partici- pativo” (Desarrollo 2.0). Nuestro principal medio de transfor- mación social era “la creación de capacidades”.

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development practice


Development practice in transition

Following over a half-century of “technology transfer” and “participation”, the paradigm of agricultural modernisation appears to have reached a limit. Directly related to growing concerns over the world’s food systems, there is a sense of welcomed change taking place. At the centre lays a commonly neglected resource: the creativity embedded in peoples’ daily practices and self-organisation.

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farmers field school

Learning in the social wild

Farmers Field School and the politics of agricultural science and development in Ecuador

As a result of its impressive success as a knowledge-based, community-led approach for change in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in Southeast Asia and elsewhere, Farmer Field School (FFS) methodology was introduced in the Andes, initially to help communities overcome pesticide-health concerns. Eventually, the approach was adapted to address other concerns in agriculture and natural resource (ANR) management, including the sustainable management of small and large animals, local seed systems, soil fertility, and water for food production and climate change adaptation.

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Climate change in the high Andes


Climate Change in the High Andes: Implications and Adaptation Strategies for Small-scale Farmers

Global climate change represents a major threat to sustainable farming in the Andes. Farmers have used local ecological knowledge and intricate production systems to cope, adapt and reorganize to meet climate uncertainty and risk, which have always been a fact of life. Those traditional systems are generally highly resilient, but the predicted effects, rates and variability of climate change may push them beyond their range of adaptability. This article examines the extent of actual and po- tential impacts of climate variability and change on small-scale farmers in the highland Andes of Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. It describes how climate change impacts agriculture through deglaciation, changes in hydrology, soil and pest and disease populations. The article highlights some promising adaptive strategies currently in use by or possible for producers, rural communities and local institutions to mitigate climate change effects while preserving the livelihoods and environmental and social sus- tainability of the region.

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mobilising our

Mobilising our greatest resource for continuity and change: people

The establishment of strong and efficient partnerships can contribute enormously to family farming, in many different ways. All efforts to enhance learning, however, must ensure that local people remain in control of the process. External agents need to be very aware of the role they want to take and of the role they are in effect taking.

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peasants, potatoes and pesticides

Peasants, Potatoes and Pesticides

Heterogeneity in the Context of Agricultural Modernization in the Highland Andes of Ecuador

The agricultural modernization model considers “green revolution” technologies, applied in standard form, as the principal means of increasing production for the market. According to modernization theory, therefore, the degree to which “modern” technology is utilized correspond to the level of farm development. However, studies in Carchi show that there is no standard way or single model that peasant farmers follow in their application of “modern” technologies does not always stimulate development. It might also have negative consequences. For instance, farmers use pesticides and fungicides in ways that are not technically recommended (Crissman et a. 1998; Yanggen et al. 2003a, Paredes 2001), leading to the exposure of their family and community members to dangerous chemicals (Mera-Orcés 2000).

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Katalysis: ayudando a los agricultores andinos a sobrellevar el cambio climático

Durante siglos, a través de ensayo y error, los agricul- tores andinos desarrollaron conocimientos sofisticados que les permitían interpretar y predecir el clima y adap- tar sus sistemas de siembra y prácticas culturales a su medio ambiente local. Aprendieron a “leer” los patrones del tiempo a través de la observación de la floración de ciertas especies, el brillo de las estrellas y el comporta- miento de los animales. Domesticaron especies rústicas de plantas y animales –por ejemplo, la papa, el chocho o tarwi (Lupinus mutabilis), la quinua, y las llamas– para las difíciles condiciones de las zonas de altura. Sin em- bargo, frente a los cambios en los patrones meteorológi- cos estas prácticas, fundamentadas en el tiempo pasado, están volviéndose menos útiles y hasta obsoletas, y los agricultores tradicionales, tales como Alejandrina, están empezando a obtener peores cosechas, con lo que se pone en cuestión la viabilidad de sus medios de sustento en las lejanas alturas.

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Learning from Carchi

Learning from Carchi

Agricultural Modernization and the Production of Decline

This chapter provides the contextual backdrop of this dissertation. It introduces the geography and landscape of the Province of Carchi in Northern Ecuador as well as the modern potato-pasture production system. I then summarize the CIP-led multidisciplinary research on the environmental, health, and productivity effects of modern agriculture. The findings make clear that behind the bucolic setting of the Northern Andes, something has gone wrong: at the turn of the twentieth century, Carchi suffers from a pathology that places into question the sustainability of its agriculture. Lastly, I introduce the results of the integrated tradeoffs analysis that proposed a “win-win” scenario and the identification of scientifically supported and replicable impact points or “best practice” for addressing the challenges in Carchi.

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Building an urban-rural

Building and urban-rural platform

In Ecuador, the benefits of a healthy food system are becoming luxuries beyond the reach of the urban and rural poor. The modern market has come between urban-based consumers and rural-based producers. Intermediaries control distribution and prices while charging a lot for their services. These transactions affect both the grower and the consumer, who continue to suffer unfair prices, poor product quality and harmful consequences to the environment.

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cover crops do it all

Cover crops do it all

Integrating cover crops and green manures helps farmers rehabilitate degraded soils in highland areas. In Ecuador, farmers experimented with this conservation practice. They found that it improved their farming system in many ways: increased productivity in their main crop, decreased weeding time, provided them with an extra crop (for food, fodder, marketing), besides rehabilitating their soils.

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Bringing agriculture

Bringing agriculture and health workers together

World Neighbors traditional focus and expertise are rooted in agricultural development. Recognising that great synergies exist between agriculture and health and looking for ways to improve our work, about ten years ago we sought to interact more with health professionals, We found that while we shared common hopes and aspirations, we often had very different ways of understanding poverty and how to help communities to address it. But we were able to come together around a common priority: good food for good health. In agricultural terms, this means food that is produced in ways that are healthy to both the farm and the farm family; in health terms, this translates into food that is nutritious and contributes to human health.

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cultural encounters

Cultual encounters: learning from cross-disciplinary science and development practice in ecosystem health

Overcoming challenges to ecosystem health calls for breaking down disciplinary and professional barriers. Through reflection on a research and development project to address pesticide-related concerns in northern Ecuador, this article presents challenges encountered and accommodations made, ranging from staff recruitment, through baseline assessments and community education activities, to mobilising for policy change. In so doing, it exposes underlying problems of paradigm and process inherent in bringing researchers and develop- ment practitioners together, in addition to the problematic role of advocacy that is associated with joint research and development initiatives in the fields of agriculture and health.

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FFSs in translation

FFSs in translation: Scaling up in name, but not in meaning

After discovering the seriousness of pesticide problems in Carchi, Ecuador, farmers and their communities began to search for ways to decrease reliance on agrochemicals. In 1999 the Farmer Field School (FFS) methodology was introduced, of which early results were promising. Through participation in FFSs, hundreds of potato farmers discovered alternatives to pesticides and fertilizers, while maintaining high production levels. The associated decreases in costs meant better productivity – commonly a return on investment of 40 percent or more. Further, medical research showed that decreased exposure to pesticides improved health. As a result, FFSs became increasingly popular, and it was encouraging to see numerous farmer groups, NGOs, government organisations, and even private industry adopt the methodology. Nonetheless, our optimism proved short-lived.

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It's time to ban highly

It’s time to ban highly hazardous pesticides

Development practitioners face difficulties persuading small holder farmers to reduce their use of extremely and highly hazardous pesticides. The patents on many of these pesticides expired long ago, allowing companies to market them at bargain prices. From an agro-ecological perspective, it is ironic that nearly all are non- specific, broad spectrum insecticides that kill all insects – both harmful and beneficial. From a public health perspective, it is perverse and tragic that they are the most toxic and at the same time normally the most readily available products in the developing world. In small villages in Asia, Africa, and Latin America even children can purchase highly toxics at the local store, and millions of farmers and their families come in contact with them routinely.

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Reducing pesticide exposure

Reducing Pesticide Exposure and Associated Neurotoxic Burden in an Ecuadorian Small Farm Population

The contribution of community-based inter ventions, including farmer field schools (FFSs) in integrated pest management (IPM), to reducing pesticide expo- sures and associated neurotoxic burden among small- farm families in Ecuador was assessed in three Andean farming communities in a co-design of tar- geted action–research. Baseline questionnaire sur veys elicited pesticide-related knowledge, practices, and exposure and neurobehavioral assessments were done using an adapted WHO battery. Pesticide applications on plots farmed by FFS versus non-FFS participants were compared. A year later, repeated surveys of par- ticipating households (n = 29) and neurobehavioral testing of individuals (n = 63) permitted comparisons of pre- and post-intervention values. The FFS gradu- ates applied pesticides on their plots less frequently (p = 0.171). FFS households had increased pesticide- related knowledge of labels and exposure risk factors (both p < 0.004), better pesticide-handling practices (p < 0.01), and less skin exposure (p < 0.01). Neu- robehavioural status had improved, particularly digit span and visuo-spatial function, resulting in overall z- score increases. Thus, community interventions reduced pesticide use, reported skin exposure, and neurotoxic burden among smallholder farm families.Key words: pesticides; developing countries; environ- mental exposures; ner vous system disorders; agricultural workers; intervention studies; health education; prevention and control.

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Vinculando a los agricultores

Vinculando a los agricultores y a los trabajadores de la salud

El desarrollo agrícola ha sido siempre el tema central del trabajo de Vecinos Mundiales (WN por sus siglas en inglés). Pero reconociendo que existe un alto nivel de sinergia entre la agricultura y la salud, y buscando mane- ras de mejorar nuestro trabajo, hace alrededor de diez años que buscamos interactuar más con profesionales de la salud. Nos dimos cuenta de que aún compartiendo esperanzas y aspiraciones sobre los resultados de nuestro trabajo, con frecuencia teníamos maneras muy diferentes de entender la pobreza y de cómo ayudar a las comuni- dades afectadas a reducirla. Pero, en cambio, sí pudimos reunirnos alrededor de una prioridad común: buena ali- mentación para tener buena salud. En términos agrícolas, esto significa alimentos producidos en forma saludable tanto para la venta como para la familia; en términos de la salud, esto se traduce en alimentos que sean nutritivos y que contribuyan a la salud humana.

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ya es momento de prohibir

Ya es momento de prohibir los plaguicidas peligrosos

Los promotores de desarrollo enfrentan dificultades para persuadir a los pequeños productores agrícolas de que reduzcan el uso de plaguicidas extremadamente peligrosos. Pero las patentes de muchos de estos pla- guicidas ya expiraron hace tiempo, lo que permite a las compañías comercializarlos a muy bajos precios. Desde una perspectiva agroecológica, es irónico que estos insecticidas, en su mayoría, sean no específicos sino de amplio espectro con potencial para eliminar a todo insecto, ya sea dañino o benéfico. Desde el punto de vista de la salud pública, resulta trágico que estos insec- ticidas sean los más tóxicos y a la vez los productos que generalmente están más disponibles en el mundo en vías de desarrollo. En los pequeños pueblos de Asia, África y América Latina, hasta los niños pueden com- prar estos productos tóxicos en la tienda local y millo- nes de agricultores y sus familias entran habitualmente en contacto con ellos.

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guia metodologica

Guía metodológica sobre ECAs

Escuelas de Campo de Agricultores

Las Escuelas de Campo de Agricultores aplican la metodología de educación de adultos, pero se enfocan especialmente en problemas agrícolas prácticos. Las ECAs se basan en la experiencia y conocimientos locales de los agricultores y añaden nuevos métodos y conceptos. La metodología de las ECAs asume que los agricultores nece- sitan experimentar las nuevas tecnologías y adaptar los nuevos conceptos a sus pro- pias condiciones económicas, ecológicas y sociales. Las ECAs, y enfoques similares, se aplican en todos los continentes sin tomar en cuenta el estatus económico.

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facilitar y dejar facilitar

Facilitar y dejar facilitar: ayudemos a los participantes a dirigir las ECAs

Desde el inicio, la extensión agrícola ha sido concebida como parte de un sistema de transferencia de tecnologías en el sentido uni-direccional: desde los centros de investigación hacia las fincas de los productores. A pesar de las buenas intenciones y la inversión de una considerable cantidad de recursos, los modelos de desarrollo que se centraron en la transferencia de tecnologías no podían sobrellevar sus fallas de concepción, y como resultado, no podían lograr las mejoras esperadas en los sistemas agrícolas y el bienestar de las comunidades rurales. Además, como diversos artículos de otras ediciones de LEISA han argumentado, las tecnologías que salieron de la Revolución Verde produjeron consecuencias no anticipadas e inclusive no deseadas, particularmente en lo social y lo ecológico.

Estamos comenzando a apreciar que el comportamiento humano no es tan controlable, ni predecible como habíamos pensado. Como tal, los proyectos pre-planificados han comen- zado a ser parte del problema. El campo profesional del desa- rrollo rural está reconociendo la necesidad de adaptar los objeti- vos y los procesos de intervención hacia nuevas modalidades más auto-dirigidas por los mismos beneficiarios.

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Los plaguicidas

Los Plaguicidas

Impactos en producción, salud y medio ambiente en Carchi, Ecuador

El objetivo a priori de este libro no es tomar una posición a favor o en contra del uso de los plaguicidas. El objetivo más bien es proporcionar análisis científico que permite a los individuos y diversos grupos de la sociedad a tomar decisiones más informadas sobre el uso de los plaguicidas y generalmente como lograr los diversos objetivos de un desarrollo sostenible que contribuya a mejorar el bienestar humano en este nuevo milenio. Esperemos que los estudios presentados en este libro ayuden al lector a participar más activamente y con mayor información en estos debates acerca del futuro de todos nosotros.

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Escuelas de campo

Escuelas de campo de agricultores

En América Latina, el paradigma predominante para el mejora- miento de la producción agrícola se ha centrado en manipular organismos (el cultivo y sus plagas) a través de tecnologías (fertilizantes sintéticos y plaguicidas), en lugar de explotar las numerosas oportunidades y complementariedades biológicas que existen entre los organismos dentro de un sistema ecológi- co. Numerosos estudios han mostrado que la consecuencia más seria de la dependencia creciente de insumos sintéticos en la agricultura puede ser el deterioro de la salud humana de los productores, tanto como la perturbación ecológica que inte- rrumpe mecanismos naturales de manejo de plagas y fertilidad de suelos.

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Cultivo de granos


Informe sobre los rubros quinua, chocho y amaranto

Actualmente en Ecuador se cultivan cerca 2.000 ha de quinua y dada su gran tolerancia a condi- ciones ambientales extremas, se estima que puede alcanzar las 90.000 ha; es decir, la tercera parte del área total de los cultivos anuales de la Sierra (280.000 ha). El potencial del chocho tanto como el del amaranto es menor – – cerca de 70.000 ha. Se estima que el potencial de una producción orgánica dentro de cinco años podría alcanzar las 8.000 ha por cultivo, con un potencial agronómico que puede llegar a 50.000 ha en un período de diez años.

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El Cultivo de Papa en Ecuador aspira presentar los actuales conocimientos del país en los diversos aspectos técnicos de producción y manejo del cultivo. Fue el producto de dos años de talleres y reuniones de edición para compilar e integrar la experiencia de cerca de 30 técnicos de laboratorio y de campo, provenientes de diversas instituciones.

Gran parte de la información presentada proviene de estudios realizados en Ecuador. Para los casos en los que no existía estudios en el país, los autores consideraron las experiencias de países vecinos. Organizamos equipos de expertos de acuerdo con seis temas relacionados con la planta, su siembra y desarrollo en el campo hasta la cosecha y comercialización. Cada grupo fue liderado por un coordinador que se responsabilizó por el desarrollo del capítulo. Trabajamos en una serie de talleres para diseñar capítulos y sistematizar experiencias e información externa. Posteriormente, un Comité Técnico, compuesto por cuatro expertos a nivel nacional e internacional revisó los contenidos.

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Pesticides and health

Pesticides and Health in Highland Ecuadorian Potato Production:

Assessing Impacts and Developing Responses

Pesticide use in highland Ecuador is concentrated in the high-risk, commercial production of potatoes. Small farm families experience considerable exposure and adverse health consequences. The authors describe a three- pronged strategy to reduce health impacts: 1) a community- based process of education and provision of personal pro- tective equipment to reduce exposure; 2) farmer field schools to increase agro–ecosystem understanding and to reduce pesticide use; and 3) policy interventions to restruc- ture incentives and to reduce availability of highly toxic insecticides. They discuss the challenges faced by each and the ongoing need for integrated interventions both to reduce adverse pesticide health impacts in the developing world and to promote sustainability of agricultural produc- tion in highland ecosystems. Key words: pesticides; develop- ing countries; environmental exposures; poisoning; nervous system disorders; agricultural workers’ diseases; integrated pest management; prevention and control.

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farmer recommendations

Farmer recommendations after 15 years of innovation

Güinope was the site of a highly acclaimed people-centred development project in the 1980s. The ACORDE / Ministry of Natural Resource / World Neighbors’ Integrated Development Program (IDP) was unique for its time, since it promoted local innovation for generation of responses to needs rather than relying on technology transfer. Furthermore, it was one of the first efforts in Latin America to employ villagers as principal agents of change. Fifteen years after the inception of the IDP and ten years after its completion, the authors interviewed farmers in their fields and held a series of participatory workshops with 10 former farmer promoters (FPs), now influential farmer leaders. The results of this study were published recently in Agriculture and Human Values (see end). Some reflections of the FPs on rural development programmes are summarised here.

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manejo integrado del cultivo


Manejo Integrado del Cultivo de Papa

La frase “enseñamos en la misma forma en que fuimos enseñados”, afirma una fuerte tendencia de los enfoques de extensión utilizados actualmente. Muchos de los extensionistas quienes trabajan en los Andes actualmente egresaron de escuelas formales donde los profesores controlaron su aprendizaje. Así adquirieron estilos de enseñanza-aprendizaje verticales y dominantes y, por tanto, menos adecuado para trabajar con agricultores en condiciones de campo. La educación de adultos que se basa en el autoaprendizaje es relativamente nueva. Consecuentemente, para desarrollar nuevos hábitos y habilidades de capacitación, los extensionistas necesitan poner especial atención en las demandas de una educación más participativa — un ambiente de aprendizaje más abierto basado en las necesidades de los participantes y que estimule la creatividad y la aplicación continua de lo aprendido.

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farmer field

Farmer Field Schools for ecological potato production in the Andes

Various partners are working with farmers to strengthen local innovative capacity as a means of enhancing production and integrated management of potato in the Andes. Groups in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia have used the Farmer Field School approach as a jumping-off point to tackle a range of challenges, most notably knowledge gaps and the devastating late blight disease.

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soil health

SOIL HEALTH: Research, practice and policy for a more regenerative agriculture

Drawing on academic literature and personal experience, the authors highlight trends emerging from sustainable agriculture efforts in developing countries involving research institutions, action agencies, and communities to provide recommendations for advancing a soil health movement. They argue that multi-disciplinary and -institutional efforts on soil health that link research, practice, and political action will be needed for improved agriculture and more promising futures.

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development and innovations

Developments and Innovations in Farmer Field Schools and the Training of Trainers

Farmer Field Schools (FFS) began in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in 1989 as a means of facilitating learning of integrated pest management (IPM) concepts and techniques by Indonesian farmers. Since then, many FFS innovations have occurred. The Indonesian National IPM Program first applied the approach on a broad scale with rice farmers, with technical assistance provided by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organiza- tion (FAO) and funding by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) among others. FFS were subsequently adapted for other crops such as legumes, fruits, vegetables, and tubers, and for technical and social themes such as integrated crop management, community forestry, livestock, water conservation, HIV/AIDS, literacy, advocacy, and democracy (CIP- UPWARD, 2003).

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