Agroecology is at the center of our work. We bring together scientists, practitioners, farmers, and consumers to produce knowledge and develop best practices for a more sustainable food system. At CAN, agroecology is not only a science and a practice, but a movement for social change. We live in a world where small farmers, who produce 70% of the world’s food supply, suffer hunger, malnutrition, loss of access to productive resources, and the impacts of climate change. Agroecology offers a multi-faceted solution. While ecologically-sound production practices are at the core of agroecology, these are not viable without vibrant local food economies, fair market channels, farmer control of seeds and land, and broad participation across gender, generations, ethnicity, and social class. Our goal is to transform the food system from farm to table, so that small farmers have enough to eat, control the means of production, and are politically empowered to have a role in decisions about what they eat, how it is produced, and how it is traded.
At the heart of CAN’s participatory approach to research lies a simple commitment: to combine agroecology-based research and action for social change. Community-based organizations and researchers collaborate to identify problems and action agendas through a reflection process that leads to the development of community-based strategies to achieve food security and sovereignty. In all of CAN’s agroecology-based food security projects, we apply the lessons learned from each PAR experience to subsequent experiences in other CAN partner communities. The result is a continuously developing methodology on how to