The IPC is a platform for small producers to collaborate on key issues such as land rights, resources, biodiversity, climate change, and the human right to food. They focus on food sovereignty, which emphasizes sustainable production and consumption practices and the well-being of all involved.
In addition to Onorati's role in the IPC, he also owns and operates a small-scale farm with his brother that showcases how an agroecological model of farming can support efforts to increase food sovereignty. At the farm, seeds are saved rather than purchased, there are no chemical inputs, animals are not treated with antibiotics, and more work is done with less machinery. While these factors seem to create an ideal model, production under these circumstances is not always easy.
To transition from an industrial to agroecological model, it takes significant amounts of time and can be costly. By producing more sustainably and with nature, yields decrease because of the lack of artificial inputs, animals can face hardships because antibiotics are not a solution, and typically production gets worse before it is able to get better. However, in the long run, the agroecological model is more beneficial and less costly when considering the negative externalities, usually not accounted for, from the industrial mode of production.
In the past year, Onorati's farm has been impacted as a result of climate change. He told students that the intense amounts of rain have postponed the wheat season. Additionally, the past May was a very dry period, where animals and their offspring suffered because there was not enough grass to fully sustain them. These consequences were eye-opening to students and allowed them to see the direct problems that climate change has on a small-scale, sustainable farm.
While there are some hardships in agro-ecological farming, the production processes are more sustainable in the long-run. To ensure food sovereignty for all, to save resources, and to build a more sustainable food system, public policies must be made to support agro-ecological models. Onorati and the IPC, civil society organizations, and NGOs have the potential to negotiate and confront the government with these issues to ensure that the future food system works with nature rather than against it.

Author: Amanda Wakefield