Panel 5: Farming and Food

Energy development and the hunting patterns of First Nations in northeast British Columbia
Abigael Rice
Master’s candidate in Environmental Anthropology
University of Saskatchewan

Intersections between rural livelihood security and animal pollination in Anolaima, Colombia
Dr. Marcela Cely Santos
Environmental Studies
University of California – Santa Cruz

Comments 4

  1. Dear all,
    Welcome to the session on Farming and Food in the Feral conference. My name is Jessica de Koning of the Rural Sociology group, Wageningen University. I am currently watching the presentations by Abigail and Marcella and hope to kick-off the discussion with some questions later on. Am very much looking forward to a lively and good discussion in the second week of this conference.

    All the best,
    Jessica de Koning

  2. Hello Abigail and Marcella,
    Thank you very much for your interesting presentations. I have watched them and I have a general question to the both of you.

    Both your presentations deal in a certain way with the effects of industrial development on food related practices of local communities. In both your presentations, animals play a role in this either as the source of food in hunting practices of indigenous Canadian communities or as pollinators in a Colombian agricultural communities.

    My questions is how you see the problems of the human relation to the non-human world in this particular context of food and farming. The idea of the feral gestures towards forms of non-human life that are beyond human control, the so-called bad and unwanted forms of nature. Both your presentations have a different take on this and I am curious how you relate your presentation to the discussion of the feral.

    Thanks, Jessica

    1. Hi Jessica,
      Thanks a lot for your question. In the case of Anolaima (and I would say in other cases), the enlargement of socio-economic inequalities in the human world is driving environmental transformations creating feral ecologies. Agricultural transformations related to the expansion of plantation ecologies –areas with lower plant diversity, and agro-industrially managed to meet market needs instead of subsistence consumption needs– expand with these inequalities. They affect social dynamics as I showed in this presentation, but also the ecological functionality of agroecosystems. Habitat simplification resulting from plantation ecologies excludes many organisms, their relationships to sustain productivity, and their capacity to self-regulate. Plantations also undermine the capacity of alternative systems (traditional diversified systems and forests in the case of Anolaima) to function as a refuge for different life forms that could act as sources of organisms contributing to food production and other functions. Therefore, as plantations expand losers are sorted out of agricultural landscapes. However, in some cases winners that resist and flourish in plantation condition may emerge and go beyond human control. In the case of Anolaima, a few bee species have acted like winners in an agricultural ocean of many losers, and their ferality has to do with their conflictive relationships with humans. Other feral groups are related to the “pests” that emerged after the introduction of green revolution technologies. I found important to share tales about the factors underlying the appearance and perpetuation of contexts for feral ecologies to emerge, and to understand paradoxes and other aspects covering the creation of feral ecologies that we usually overlook.

      1. Thank you Marcela,
        I agree with you that the factors underlying the emergence or change of feral ecologies are very interesting! Thank you for your answer. Hopefully more people will still join this discussion in the days to come.

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