More support for small farms, this in a report by Chelsea Smith, David Elliott and Susan H. Bragdon from the Quaker United Nations Office, Geneva (May 2015).
Summary as follows:
• Industrial agriculture is a major contributor to anthropogenic climate change, and in turn climate change threatens the viability of food production around the world.
• Adapting to changing growing conditions will require access to the full breadth of genetic, species and ecosystem diversity that exists and continues to evolve, along with the knowledge of what works under what conditions.
• Modern varieties can yield immense public benefit. However their dissemination is often accompanied by the erosion of on-farm genetic diversity, loss of associated local knowledge, and the abandonment of traditional farming practices. This undermines our critical capacity to adapt to already-changing conditions.
• In their roles as experimenters, innovators and custodians of agrobiodiversity, small-scale farmers are integral to the pursuit of global food security in an era of climate change.
• The field of agroecology recognizes the contributions of small-scale farmers and provides a framework for integrating local and scientific innovation systems and mitigating the negative environmental effects of industrial agriculture.
• Complementarity between local and scientific innovation systems is best achieved when small-scale farmers lead the development of research agendas and are actively involved in the research process.
• Proactive measures need to be undertaken to support small-scale, agriculturally biodiverse farming systems to secure local and global food security, and hence the right to food, in the future.