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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Cultivating collective freedom : agroecology as a lifeway for autonomy and good relations Roger, Katherine


Agroecology is both a practical agricultural science which mimics ecological functions to enhance and protect the integrity of agroecosystems and a political movement spearheaded by grassroots actors – especially women, rural peasants, and Indigenous farmers – to address localized issues of food insecurity, ecological and biodiversity crises, the legacies of slavery and colonialism, and the privatization and concentration of land and agriculture in the hands of few. This thesis focuses on agroecology as a social and political movement, exploring how agroecological practices can lead to holistic well-being for communities and ecosystems. Rooted in a series of projects from the research collaborative, Agroecología en Latinoamérica: Construyendo Caminos, this thesis works closely with the Ecuadorian Movement for Social and Solidarity Economy (meSSe) and the Andean agroecological collective, Ayllu Kurikancha, to share the textured stories of how agroecological practices produce well-being by creating the conditions for autonomy and good relations. The research explores various definitions of well-being based on the experiences of agroecologists from Ayllu Kurikancha, incorporating storytelling and theorization from participant-collaborators through a feminist, decolonial, and relational research methodology. This thesis characterizes agroecology as a way of life that promotes well-being, celebrating the prefigurative politics of Ayllu Kurikancha in shaping sustainable and equitable futures for generations on the land to come. This vision of relational well-being is tied to a notion – or feeling – of autonomy and freedom which makes agroecology a desirable way of life. Thus, the stories shared here offer "possibility models" or blueprints for creating a future of well-being for humans and nature through agroecological practices.

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