Berkeley Seminar – Domains of Transformation for a More Just and Sustainable Food System

This seminar by Colin Anderson  will present and discuss the work of the Agroecologynow! group at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience. The talk will focus on Agroecology and Sustainability Transitions-Transformations.

Seminar: 1-2 pm Friday, 15 March 2019

114 Morgan Hall (or Morgan Lounge) – UC Berkeley

Agroecology is being presented as an approach to (re)designing sustainable food systems that can address multiple crises in the food system and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. In this seminar, I will present a framework we are developing for advancing sustainability transitions-transformations across different ‘domains of transition’ in the food system. Building on the multilevel perspective used in the sustainability transitions literature and focusing our analysis on governance and power, we examine these domains as interfaces between emerging radical alternatives and the dominant regime.

We outline six critical domains of transformation that arise in our review of the agroecology: access to land, seeds and water; knowledge and culture; systems of exchange; networks; discourse; and gender and equity. These domains are discrete but deeply interrelated arenas of struggle and potential where power dynamics shape relationships, norms, rules, activities and dynamics in territories. We discuss, within each domain: a) disabling dynamics that maintain the status quo and undermine agroecology; b) enabling dynamics emerging from the emerging agroecological alternatives.

In order to advance agroecology transitions-transformations, it is critical to focus on shifting governance in and across these domains in order to address the political and social lock-ins that reinforce the status quo. This will require a shift from top-down technocratic governance approaches to transition towards bottom-up distributed ones that emphasize the agency of food producers and citizens. This, we argue, is where the greatest potential lies for enabling just transitions-transformations towards sustainability. This talk is based on work by a group of researchers working at the AgroecologyNow! group and based at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience


Colin R. Anderson is an Associate Professor at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University.