Agroecology is based on traditional agricultural practices carried out by our ancestors across the globe before our food production became industrialized and extractive. It is community-based food production without chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
The Farmworker Association of Florida’s Agroecology program is part of our work on food sovereignty and environmental justice. We view the necessary change to the inequities inherent in the current food system in which we live to be rooted at the community level. To that end, we have four community gardens operating in four of our five area offices: Apopka, Pierson, Fellsmere, and Homestead. Currently we are starting a new community garden near our Immokalee office.
Community gardens are spaces where members of the communities we serve can decide what fruits and vegetables they would like to grow and eat, free of pesticides and chemical-laden fertilizers. It is a place where they can learn about the agricultural practices that can empower them to reclaim control of their lives, and where they can pass that knowledge on down to younger generations.
Learning about food
More importantly, agroecology is a teaching and decolonization tool. Through agroecological practices, communities can regain some of that knowledge lost through the process of decolonization and that has continued through to the present. Through the increased mechanization and industrialization of the agriculture, we are losing control of what we put in our bodies and how that is produced. Regaining that knowledge is a way to regain that control of our lives and through the necessary land management practices that follow, learn self-governance.
The less extractive nature of agroecological practices is a root solution to a cleaner and more sustainable food and economic system on which we can work together to regenerate our damaged ecological system and move towards a just transition for communities that have been directly affected by the environmental injustices from the current politico-economic system.