Agronomy and Horticulture Department



Charles Francis

Date of this Version



Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (2023)

doi: 10.1080/21683565.2023.2253186


Copyright © 2023, Taylor and Francis. Used by permission


Agroecologists understand that farming and food systems are more complex than the aggregation of their components. This realization drives our choices of learning strategies and activities that will prepare students for complexity and uncertainty. Our quest for a just, sustainable, and nutritious food system adequate to equitably serve everyone on the planet today and into the future is an enormous challenge. An undertaking of this magnitude will be met only with major adjustments informed by thoughtful teaching and practicing problem solving skills through a new educational lens. The principles of agroecology help us focus this lens on the wicked problems of today and the future, and prepare students for navigating uncharted territory. The dimensions of such education are broad, transdisciplinary, and long term. In this commentary, we explore agroecology as an emerging platform to understand the holistic nature of systems, to navigate the complications of unpredictable change, and to deal with how we can frame relevant questions for ourselves and our students in a rapidly changing biological and social environment.