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Research Methods in Agroecology: investigating grassroot social movements and solidarity economies in Latin America in contexts of shocks and crises

Leader: Giovanna Chavez-Miguel, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Institutional connection: Institut für Agrar- und Gartenbauwissenschaften, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Funding period: October 2021 – March 2022

On the Andes, farmer communities face complex interrelated challenges for pursuing sustainable development, including conflicts over resources, exposure to climate change, biodiversity loss and inefficiencies in land tenure. The Covid-19 pandemic has struck the region midst deep political and socio-economic crises, thereby exacerbating pre-existing inequalities and increasing food insecurity. In response to adversity, social movements, and grassroots organizations advance community-based strategies for sustainable rural development. They advance Agroecology as an integrated approach to simultaneously mitigate effects of climate change, protect agrobiodiversity, foster food security, and strengthen local capacities.

This x-student group introduces students to transdisciplinary and participatory research methods. In the aim of analyzing the potential of agroecology for fostering community resilience, will we explore community-based processes of agroecological transformations in relation to traditional practices of solidarity and reciprocity characteristic of traditional Andean societies. The seminar is open to students from various disciplines, yet foundation knowledge and interest in agriculture, rural development, natural resource management, geography or anthropology are helpful.

Rural Latin America is a fertile ground for understanding environmental governance and for conceptualising methods and tools for collective action research and practice. Beyond the current health and economic crises, the analysis of social movements accounts for how solidarity and community mobilization drive processes of socio-ecological transformation. Latin America, a region historically, and cyclically marked by multiple crises and conflict, brings an abundance of experiences of collective action and social movements, which illustrate possibilities for overcoming present and future crises.

Start: 19.10.2021
Date: Tuesday 3:00-4:30 p.m.

Contact: Email: giovanna.chavez-miguel@zalf.de