Political Ecologies of Agrobiodiversity Governance
Organizers: Veronica Limeberry and Garrett Graddy-Lovelace (American University)
We are seeking abstracts for 20-minute papers for a panel at the POLLEN (the Political Ecology Network) Biennial Conference, held in Oslo, Norway, 20-22 June 2018
Agricultural biodiversity—its declines and conservation, its values and contexts—are finally garnering broader political attention. Encroaching climate change and malnourishment disclose the agronomic and nutritional weaknesses of homogenized agri-food systems. Not to mention their social, biocultural, and political-economic monopolies. Conservation efforts expand, but remain ex situ-centric. Seed policies multiply, but beg questions about broader agricultural politics. This panel seeks political ecology perspectives to the crucial and often overlooked topic of agrobiodiversity governance.
With the increasing emergence of varied international actors, from states to private sector organizations, to NGOs, grassroots movements, and nonstate actors, the potential for “alternative political ecologies” is both heightened and complicated. This is especially true in the fields of agriculture and agri-food systems. Powerful international actors continue to shape discourse and governance around agricultural biodiversity in particular. Yet, other actors, such as grassroots movements for agrobiodiversity and seed-saving initiatives, wield significantly more voice than they did even a decade ago. How do these differentiated power dynamics play out across conventions, treaties, agreements, and other governance mechanisms to protect crop, livestock, and soil biodiversity globally? To what effect?
Our panel asks the critical questions of: in what ways is agrobiodiversity governance evolving through these myriad new networks of multiple actors? What potential is there for partnerships grounded in equitable power relations and shared voices of the most disenfranchised regarding agrobiodiversity conservation? What methodologies can be employed to build these partnerships and actively support grassroots practitioner efforts—in for instance participatory plant breeding? We seek to engage contemporary political ecology scholarship to explore and support alternative visions of agrobiodiversity, in partnership with those engaged in the work of cultivating it. How is agricultural biodiversity contested and negotiated through political debate? How can it be facilitated through policy?
Our panel encourages papers that address a range of topics, including but not limited to: climate change, political economy, farmers rights, agroecology, food sovereignty/food security, gender, bioethics, biopolitics, politics of scale, cosmovision, trade, intellectual property, land tenure, biocultural territories, appropriate technologies, nutrition, race/racism, coloniality, indigeneity and tribal rights.