Three years ago this week, IATP sent an open letter to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), praising the organization for convening an International Symposium on Agroecology for Food and Nutrition Security. Given the multiple challenges we face –food insecurity, rural poverty, climate change, and water crises to list a few–the letter called for a solid commitment to agroecology from the international community.
Since then FAO’s agroecology hub has been working with an extended network of agroecologists—scientists, practitioners and social movements—to organize regional agroecology conferences in Latin America & Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia and the Pacific. It has also been documenting various aspects of agroecology: science, practice; social processes, 10 elements and knowledge-sharing or education. In bringing out the various ways in which agroecological practices are being carried out across the world, early last year FAO decided to profile 52 case studies from around the world.
IATP is delighted that our partner from Mexico, La Asociación Nacional de Empresas Comercializadoras de Productores del Campo (ANEC), is one of the 52 profiles selected. The 4-page ANEC case study, looks at how ANEC’s emphasis of working democratically with the farmer members, even as they are encouraged to adopt agroecological practices. The case study is a summary of a longer article (co-published by IATP and ANEC) which looks in detail at the socio-economic processes and climatic realities that have led ANEC members to experiment with agroecological practices, and choose a different path. As one of the ANEC advisers, Antonio Hernández Alarcó, puts it, “Our survival depended on finding a way to increase yields and lower costs. We became agroecologists by necessity”. Along the way, many also become committed to the diverse agricultural, ecological and social dimensions of agroecology. ANEC continues to build on this work, meeting farmers where they are to transition to agroecology.
IATP is proud to see that Main Street Project from Minnesota too has been profiled this week in the list of FAO’s Agroecology case studies. Our collaborative project with Main Street Project sought to establish a research framework for a new set of indicators that would better represent the diverse beneﬁts of local, agroecological food systems and that could be tracked over time, and we came out with a report in 2014. This new model of agriculture for producing free-range poultry as part of a sustainable closed loop food system is not only accessible to aspiring immigrants and other limited resource farmers, but also provides a prototype for developments elsewhere.
This Agroecology Knowledge Hub is also supported by a Family farming Platform at FAO which provides international, regional and national information related to family farming issues, some of them through case studies such as the one on ANEC.
 ANEC’s full name translates as The National Association of Rural Producers’ Commercial Enterprises