a magazine on ecological agriculture
a one stop treasure of practical field experiences

New Books – Co-creation of knowledge

Community Seed Banks

Community Seed Banks

Origins, Evolution and Prospects

Ronnie Vernooy, Pitambar Shrestha,Bhuwon Sthapit (Eds), 2015, Routledge, 270 p., £29.99 ISBN: 9780415708067

Community seed banks first appeared towards the end of the 1980s, established with the support of international and national non-governmental organizations. This book is the first to provide a global review of their development and includes a wide range of case studies.

Countries that pioneered various types of community seed banks include Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Nicaragua, the Philippines and Zimbabwe. Over time, the number and diversity of seed banks has grown. In Nepal, for example, there are now more than 100 self-described community seed banks whose functions range from pure conservation to commercial seed production.

Surprisingly, despite 25 years of history and the rapid growth in number, organizational diversity and geographical coverage of community seed banks, recognition of their roles and contributions has remained scanty. The book reviews their history, evolution, experiences, successes and failures (and reasons why), challenges and prospects. It fills a significant gap in the literature on agricultural biodiversity and conservation, and their contribution to food sovereignty and security.

The System of Rice Intensification-Responses to Frequently Asked Questions

The System of Rice Intensification: Responses to Frequently Asked Questions

Norman Uphoff, 2015, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 226 p., ISBN-13: 978-1515022053

The System of Rice Intensification, known as SRI, represents a paradigm shift in agricultural thinking and practice toward agroecological farming that can be used by even the poorest smallholding farmers in ecologically fragile regions of the world to achieve food security in the face of the climate-change challenges ahead.

When the author Norman Uphoff first learned about SRI in Madagascar in 1993, this production system which offered higher yields with reduced inputs seemed implausible to him. But the professor put aside his skepticism after seeing farmers who had been getting rice yields of just two tons per hectare produce four times more rice—for three years in a row—on their very poor soils, not changing their varieties or relying on agrochemical inputs, and using less water. Now, he’s helping to disseminate this dramatically effective methodology with this accessible, easy-to-use sourcebook. It offers explanations, research references, vivid pictures, and concrete examples of the award-winning SRI methodology to anyone interested in the development of practicable sustainable food systems.

Agroecology-A Transdisciplinary, Participatory and Action-oriented Approach

Agroecology: A Transdisciplinary, Participatory and Action-oriented Approach

  1. Ernesto Méndez, Christopher M. Bacon, Roseann Cohen, Stephen R. Gliessman (Eds.), 2015, CRC Press, 268 pages, ISBN: 9781482241761

Agroecology: A Transdisciplinary, Participatory and Action-oriented Approach is the first book to focus on agroecology as a transdisciplinary, participatory, and action-oriented process. Using a combined theoretical and practical approach, this collection of work from pioneers in the subject along with the latest generation of acknowledged leaders engages social actors on different geo-political scales to transform the global agrifood system.

The book is divided into two sections, with the first providing conceptual bases and the second presenting case studies. It describes concepts and applications of transdisciplinary research and participatory action research (PAR). Six case studies show how practitioners have grappled with applying this integration in agroecological work within different geographic and socio-ecological contexts.

An explicit and critical discussion of diverse perspectives in the growing field of agroecology, this book covers the conceptual and empirical material of an agroecological approach that aspires to be more transdisciplinary, participatory, and action-oriented. In addition to illustrating systems of agroecology that will improve food systems around the world, it lays the groundwork for further innovations to create better sustainability for all people, ecologies, and landscapes.