Feminist Agroecology and Seed Security: Methodological innovations

Organizers and presenters: Beatriz Oliver and Pratap Shrestha, SeedChange
This session will showcase the importance of feminist approaches in agroecology and seed security practices and methodologies, and facilitate a collective exercise on priorities for research. Agroecology as a practice has important potential to help address gender inequality in decision-making and access to productive resources, due to the use of participatory methodologies, a social justice framework, and emphasis on local knowledge, practices and inputs. Co-presenters Pratap Shrestha and Beatriz Oliver will present on strategies for gender equality and women’s empowerment through agroecology based on learning from agrobiodiversity programs implemented by SeedChange (previously USC Canada) and partners. These include farmer research committees (CIALs), participatory plant breeding and selection (PPB/PVS), and a Seed Security Assessment and Action Plan (SSAAP). They will present on how these methods help to visibilize the important roles women play in agroecology and seed management. Together with gender equality training, these methodologies have supported many community organizations to strengthen gender equality in agricultural activities and leadership roles.

In particular, they will discuss program methods to strengthen seed security that increasingly centre a feminist approach, with focus on the Seed Security Assessment and Action Plan (SSAAP). They argue that seed security approaches that emphasize participatory, gender-based analysis are crucial for actions to address intersectional forms of inequality in decision-making and access to resources. Based on a participatory discussion in the session in breakout groups, they will also propose directions for community and academic research in this area to further support feminist approaches to agroecology with focus on agrobiodiversity, and the implications for gender research in agriculture and agroecological settings.