The debates are taking place in Durango (Biscay, Spain) since June 30. La Via Campesina has already held similar events in Latin America, Asia and Africa, and it will organize a global conference in Thailand and the end of the year, where the contributions of the various continental organizations will be collected.
Fifty sustainable family farmers and peasants of la Via Campesina from all over Europe have been participating in the internal discussions on agroecology hosted by the EHNE.Bizkaia agricultural trade union in the Ibaizabal School in Durango since Saturday 30 June. The main goal is to develop a concrete vision of agroecology for the European Coordination of la Via Campesina, as well as a concrete process to reinforce and spread this vision on the continent. The results of this work will lead at the end of the year to the global conference celebrated by la Via Campesina International to establish a discourse, strategy and planning at the global level. It should be noted that agroecology is an indispensable tool for la Via Campesina in order to move towards food sovereignty for the peoples of the world. The European organization of la Via Campesina is the last LVC organization to complete the process of reflection and contribution on agroecology. Similar events have already been held in Latin America, Asia and Africa, with good and promising results, as Peter Rosset, the agroecologist and expert of la Via Campesina who promotes this area of work, underlined in the opening session in Durango.
Rosset emphasized among others how the importance of agroecology does not lie in its name, as different cultures and geographic locations use different terms to refer to it (for example, organic agriculture in Cuba and the Philippines). What matters are the principles on which it is based, principles which rest on the ancestral knowledge of indigenous and rural communities. “Agroecology was not created by universities, but by indigenous and rural knowledge, which academics later helped systematize as a science,” he noted.
Rosset provided interesting examples of agroecological experiences in different parts of the word, such as zero waste agriculture in India, the collective process in Zimbabwe or the indigenous initiative in Ghana. He recalled the words of the Ghanaian indigenous chief on the industrial agri-food culture: “You grow it fast, you eat it fast and you die fast.”