Scientists are calling for the democratization of global food systems

Experts have emphasized the importance of democratizing knowledge to transform global food systems, with an emphasis on inclusivity and diverse perspectives.

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In a recent study, an international team of experts urgently highlighted the need to democratize knowledge to ‘revolutionize’ global food systems.

The research, titled ‘Knowledge Democratization Approaches for Food Systems Transformation’, was published in Natural foodand was conducted by several professors, including some from the University of Vermont.

In the article, the academics note that they believe there is a need to integrate traditional, indigenous and place-based knowledge into decision-making processes to address blind spots in current policy and food system measures.

The research was conducted by several experts, including V. Ernesto Méndez and Colin R. Anderson, professors at the University of Vermont and co-directors of the UVM Institute for Agroecology (IfA).

“Until now, we have had privileged Western scientific knowledge, and this article urges us to include different types of knowledge and recognize the people who developed them,” Méndez said.

The article itself promotes embracing participatory and transdisciplinary methods that encompass diverse knowledge systems, including indigenous, scientific and traditional perspectives. According to the researchers, by embracing this diversity of practices, they will be able to “generate contextually relevant solutions and promote more inclusive and equitable food systems.”

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Samara Brock of Yale University led the study, which resulted from an international process convened by the Global Alliance for the Future of Food on the Politics of Knowledge that united food system leaders to devise strategies for advancing research and evidence for agroecology. Using case studies from around the world, the authors highlight innovative approaches involving local actors in the production and exchange of knowledge.

“It is critical to note the diversity of sectors represented in authorship – we have scientists, practitioners, nonprofit staff and philanthropists – all making an urgent call for us to democratize our knowledge base as the foundation for achieving a just and sustainable transformation of food systems,” concluded Méendez.