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The field of agroecology (AE) has a long history, with origins in the 1930s. In the 1970s, AE was defined as an approach to apply ecological concepts and principles to agricultural contexts, with a strong ecological foundation. Since then, AE has evolved into an interdisciplinary approach (integrating social and natural sciences), which has expressions within the sciences, practical applications by farmers, and political engagements from a diversity of social movements. The integration of these dimensions has allowed some agroecologists to embrace the field as a transdisciplinary approach, where scientific knowledge is integrated with other knowledge systems (e.g. indigenous or practical knowledge) to cocreate new and relevant knowledge.
The University of Vermont Agroecology and Livelihoods Collaborative (ALC) embraces the evolution of AE, and takes advantage of its transformative potential. They work with and support smallholder farmers and their organizations to strengthen their livelihoods and steward the landscapes they inhabit. By necessity, the approach links local contexts with global perspectives that engage with broader agrifood systems, thus seeking to influence national and global agricultural and natural resources management policies from the bottom up. That is, ALC works by investigating the advantages and challenges of agroecological alternatives at the farm, landscape, and territorial levels.
Learn more about the Agroecology and Livelihood Collaborative (ALC) here
To learn more about our partners at UVM, Ernesto Mendez and Gabriela Bucini, click here
This project will advance methods, tools, and practices of AE research within the CCRP at the project level, linked to principles of AE. Specific indicators will be developed that are context-specific and that connect to global AE evidence-based frameworks including the FAO framework. It will advance project specific needs, as well as the gap in aligned AE frameworks at a broader level. In addition, it will assist AE research and practice across the CCRP to address a need for concrete tools and methods to measure AE.
Outputs and Outcomes:
The first phase will be focused on planning for AE support with specific project goals listed below.
Capacity building in AE: deepen AE content and the implementation capacity of projects, so that they strengthen the performance of AE options within their contexts.
Advance AE assessment and monitoring: develop and test principles-based AE assessment and monitoring approaches and tools, which will support projects in evaluating performance of AE options.
Coalesce support teams and key CCRP initiatives around AE: the project will integrate the RMS, IMEP Soils teams, the FAO cross-cutting grant, and the FRN initiative around the common thread of AE.
Use lessons learned to engage diverse actors in a dialogue that advances AE.
Key outcomes will include:
Projects in each of the CoPs achieve a deeper understanding of AE.
Pilot projects select AE framework(s), priority AE principles, and key indicators to conduct assessment and monitoring of AE performance (AMAP).
The CCRP deepens knowledge and learning on how to assess AE performance.
Relevant external actors, from the local to the global, learn from the CCRP’s experience in deepening AE understanding and practice.
Using AE as a common thread, CCRP grants and initiatives engage in an integrated effort to strengthen agroecological performance of CCRP projects.
Lessons learned from AE support and AMAP provide the CCRP with knowledge to further advance agroecology in its CoPs and to engage key external actors to also learn from and apply this learning.