Horizontal and deep scaling of agroecology: Lessons from two organizations that defend seed sovereignty in Colombia
Escalamiento horizontal y profundo de la agroecología: Lecciones de dos organizaciones defensoras de la soberanía de semillas en Colombia
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This research aimed to analyze the relationship of the defense, conservation, and recovery of seeds with the scaling of agroecology. Through a qualitative case study design, information was collected from two local organizations in Colombia: Custodios de Semillas de Riosucio (department of Caldas) and the Red Agroecológica del Caribe or RECAR (departments of Córdoba and Sucre), both belong to the Network of Free Seeds of Colombia (RSLC). The field work was carried out between 2016 and 2017, semi-structured interviews and focus groups were carried out with seed custodians, community leaders and specialists on the subject. Some findings indicate that in the processes of conservation, recovery and defense of creole and native seeds, two types of agroecology escalation are established: One horizontal, due to the activities that link the knowledge, principles, and practices between the custodians of seeds, their communities, the organizations, and networks in which they participate. Another is a deep escalation, which is given by 1) the custody of seeds that generates and/or reaffirms indigenous and peasant identities in their vital spaces; 2) because these processes of conservation, recovery and defense of seeds make up a multidimensional process both technically, politically and symbolically that provides cultural and territorial roots (seen as cultural revaluation, ecological regeneration and a political-economic repositioning), and 3) the strengthening of the social-organizational fabric through the collective actions and strategies carried out in their territories for the defense of native and creole seeds. These processes provide the conditions for the scaling of agroecology and contribute to the construction of seed sovereignty, which is an essential aspect in the struggle to preserve and reproduce native and creole seeds.