Agroecology has gained substantial relevance in political, agricultural and scientific discourse of sustainable food systems. Defined as ‘an integrated approach that simultaneously applies ecological and social concepts and principles to the design and management of food and agricultural systems’, agroecology embraces a holistic conceptualization of sustainable agriculture. The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change referred to agroecology as a transformative adaptation approach. In addition, it is an integral part of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) common vision for sustainable food and agriculture, and was put forward by the Committee on World Food Security as a viable pathway to reach global food security and nutrition goals. Benefits of agroecological approaches on food security and nutrition have been reported in a range of studies. However, the true impact of agroecology on nutrition and food security outcomes has yet to be fully understood. In particular, the multiple pathways through which agroecological methods can impact nutrition and the food system, both from the consumer demand and food supply sides, deserve more investigation.
While the principles of agroecology do not explicitly state a link with nutrition, this paper argues that among them, input reduction, biodiversity, economic diversification, social values and diets, fairness, connectivity and participation are directly linked to nutrition. Nutrition can serve as a critical outcome and driver of agroecological practices and can drive transformative change across the food system.
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