Last year around this time I was planning my fieldwork in the rainforest of Borneo. Today I woke up to more fieldwork but in a starkly contrasting landscape. With ethnographic research techniques I'm seeking the answers to two major questions. *Can agroecology offer resilience within a changing climate? AND *What incentives are required to transition producers to agroecological practices?
Bienvenido a Argentina!
Argentina is located at the southern tip of Latin America and is one of the most remote, isolated, and under populated destinations on the planet. Agriculture, including land use change and forestry, is the largest contributor to green house gas emissions in the country. Economic liberalization policies in the nineties imposed a heavy toll on the environment which continues today with a strong focus on conventially grown export crops. However, there is significant potential to reduce emissions through transitioning agricultural practices. As a conservation ecology student, this is what initially got me interested in the research I will be working on while I’m here. My research seeks to better understand human-environment interactions and discover what incentives are required for producers to transition to these more sustainable farming techniques.
Agroecology is an alternative model that needs to be promoted in order to confront ecological costs of modern agriculture. It is a model that offers promising benefits for conserving biodiversity and ecological integrity while ensuring local food sovereignty. Agroecological producers view their farms as holistic ecosystems and strive to preserve natural resources. In Argentina, there is a growing trend for small-scale producers to use agroecological methods which helps to preserve the environment and enhance community capacity. During the next few weeks I will be reaching out to organizations such as The National Institute of Agricultural Technology who works to raise awareness among family farmers about the health risks associated with agrochemicals and offers training in agroecological techniques. Not only will I be conducting interviews with a wide variety of informants, I will also get to visit several different farms and markets.
I hope you join me in my new adventure and research endeavor in Argentina!