The Originators

 Professor Molly Anderson

Professor Molly AndersonMolly D. Anderson serves as Chair of Food & Sustainable Agriculture Systems at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine.

She is particularly interested in education and effective multistakeholder collaborations for sustainability, food system resilience, human rights in the food system and the transition to a post-petroleum food economy.  Her professional writing and speaking is on food security, food politics, food rights, food sovereignty and sustainability metrics.

Before moving to Maine, Molly consulted for five years on science and policy for social justice, ecological integrity and democratic food systems.  She held two interim positions at Oxfam America 2002-2005 and a faculty position at Tufts University, where she taught, administered programs, built partnerships and conducted research. She co-founded and directed the first five years of the Agriculture, Food and Environment Graduate Degree Program in the School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts. She also directed Tufts Institute of the Environment for three years.  She was appointed as a Senior Wallace Fellow at Winrock International and received a national Food & Society Policy Fellowship from 2002-2004.

Professor John Gershman

Professor John GershmanJohn Gershman is a Clinical Associate Professor at New York University’s Robert F Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. He teaches courses on the Politics of Development Hunger and Food Security, U.S. Foreign Policy, Institutions, Governance, and Development, and social movements and social change.

Previously he served the Director of the Global Affairs Program at the International Relations Center and the Co-Director of Foreign Policy in Focus, a progressive think tank on U.S. foreign policy and international affairs. He also served as the Policy Director at the Institute for Food and Development Policy (Food First) and as a Research Fellow at Partners in Health.

His research, writing, and advocacy work has focused on issues of U.S. foreign policy in East and Southeast Asia, the politics of accountability and effectiveness in foreign aid, the political economy of democracy and development, the strategies and responses of social movements and NGOs to globalization, and terrorism. His current research explores issues of rights-based approaches to development, issues of land and water rights in Ghana and the Philippines, and the challenges posed by globalization to political participation and representation in the nation-state.

Dr. Hans Rudolf Herren

Dr. Hans Rudolf HerrenDr. Herren received his MSc (Agronomy) and PhD (Biological control) from the Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich, Switzerland. He completed his postdoc at the University of California, Berkeley, Biological Control Division. His main interests and experience are in the area of agriculture and food; ecologically, socially and economically sustainable development. He has hands-on experience in research, capacity development and management of research organizations and more recently at the policy level, to assure that knowledge, science and technology do contribute effectively to sustainable development. He is presently also leading an initiative trough his Bovision Foundation, the Millennium Institute and other partners on “IAASTD Rio+20, time to act.”

• Millennium Institute (MI) USA: President and CEO since May 2005. MI provides “Development Intelligence” tools (system dynamics models such as the T21) and capacity development services to empower developing countries in the design and ex ante evaluation of their own sustainable development strategies and supporting policies for the medium and long term.

• International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) Kenya: Chief Executive and Director General, 1994 – 2004. ICIPE deals with research and capacity development in insect and ecosystem sciences as relevant to human, animal, plant and environmental health in support of sustainable development.

• International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Nigeria: Director Biological Control Program 1979 -1991; Director Plant Health Management Division 1992 to 1994. Developed and implemented one of the world’s largest and most successful biological control programs ever carried out, saving over 20 million lives and the livelihood of 200 million people in the African cassava belt.

• Co-Chair of the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD)

His achievements have earned him among others the World Food Prize 1995, Tyler Prize (2003) and membership of the US National academy of sciences 1999 and the academy of sciences of the Developing world 2005.

He authored over 100 publications, book chapters and given over 300 invited guest lectures and keynote addresses at major conferences, congresses, forums and symposia.

Professor Philip McMichael

Professor Philip McMichaelPhilip McMichael is a professor of Developmental Sociology at Cornell University.  Trained as a historical sociologist, McMichael’s research examines the role of agri-food systems in the making of the modern world, including an examination of the politics of globalization via the structuring of agri-food relations.

He has consulted with the FAO, UNRISD, and the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC), and served as President of the Research Committee on the Sociology of Food and Agriculture for the International Sociological Association.

He has authored an award-winning book, Settlers and the Agrarian Question (Cambridge, 1984), Development and Social Change: A Global Perspective (Sage, 2012, 5th edition), and has edited Contesting Development: Critical Struggles for Social Change (Routledge, 2010), The Politics of Biofuels, Land and Agrarian Change, with J. Borras and I. Scoones (Routledge, 2011), New Directions in the Sociology of Global Development, with F.H. Buttel (Elsevier, 2005), and The Global Restructuring of Agro-Food Systems (Cornell, 1994).

Frances Moore Lappé

Frances Moore Lappé

Frances Moore Lappé is the author of 18 books, including the three-million copy Diet for a Small Planet in 1971. Frances is the cofounder of three organizations, including Food First: The Institute for Food and Development Policy and the Cambridge-based Small Planet Institute, which she leads with her daughter Anna Lappé. Frances has received 18 honorary doctorates from distinguished colleges and universities, including the University of Michigan and has been a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley.

In 1987, Frances was the fourth American to receive and the Right Livelihood Award, considered an “Alternative Nobel,” for “revealing the political and economic causes of world hunger and how citizens can help to remedy them.” In 2008 she received the James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Award for her lifelong impact on the way people all over the world think about food, nutrition, and agriculture. Her other notable awards include the 2009 International Studies Association’s Outstanding Public Scholar Award; and in 2011, in Italy, she received the Nonino Prize for her life’s work.

Professor Ivette Perfecto

Professor Ivette PerfectoIvette Perfecto is the George W. Pack Professor of Natural Resources and Environment at the School of Natural Resources and Environment of the University of Michigan, USA.

Professor Perfecto’s work focuses on biodiversity within agricultural systems. Recently she has been studying how complex ecological interactions contribute to autonomous pest control in agroforestry systems, in particular shaded coffee in Latin America.

Professor Perfecto has also examined yield potential of agroecological and organic systems and was a Lead Coordinating Author of the International Assessment on Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology (IAASTD).  She has more than 100 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals and has written two books, Breakfast of Biodiversity (Food First Publications) and Nature’s Matrix (Earthscan).

Dr. Michel Pimbert

Dr. Michel PimbertDr. Michel Pimbert is currently Principal Researcher and Team Leader for Agroecology and Food Sovereignty at the UK based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).

An agricultural ecologist by training, he previously worked at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in India, the University François Rabelais de Tours in France, and the World Wide Fund for Nature in Switzerland. He has also done research for the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), The World Conservation Union (IUCN), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).  Dr. Pimbert has been a Board member of several international NGOs working on food sovereignty, sustainable agriculture and human rights. He is currently the Deputy Chair of the Commission on Environment, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) of The World Conservation Union (IUCN).

Dr. Pimbert’s work centres on food sovereignty and citizenship, sustainable agriculture and livelihoods, the political ecology of natural resource and biodiversity management, as well as participatory action research and deliberative democratic processes.  Over the last 28 years he has published extensively in these areas, linking theory with practice.  His latest co-edited books include ‘Social Change and Conservation’, ‘The Life Industry. Biodiversity, People and Profits’, ‘Sharing Power. Learning by doing in the co-management of natural resources throughout the world’, and ‘Virtuous Circles: Values, systems and sustainability’.

2 Responses to “The Originators”

  1. Dave Wood (@GightWood) Says:

    I have spent most of my working life as a scientist in tropical agricultural development. There is a presentational problem with any group of people in developed countries – as you are – making policy comments applied to other countries or, as in this case, trying to undermine the policy advice of others given in the Oxford University Press book. This problem arises from the vast agricultural exports from North America and – at least for many of you – residence in and funding support from North America. You will be seen as trying to stop developing countries advancing a modern, competitive, export driven agriculture that competes with North American exports. In effect, you can be charged as trans-national Luddites trying to hold back agricultural development elsewhere to the profit of your countries of residence.
    More specifically, I note that several of you are major proponents of `agroecology’. I am currently writing a detailed critique of this topic for publication. I can give you advance notice that my findings are that agroecology suffers from almost exactly the weaknesses that you seem to have identified in the OU Press book. You are getting yourselves in a `Pots calling kettles black’ situation – best avoided.

  2. Doug Gurian-Sherman Says:

    I find Dave Wood’s comments off the mark for several reasons. First, and most important, the main critique is not about the content of the book in question, but the standards of publication that Oxford Press used in publishing it. This is an issue for the global academic community, not just the global South. Wood completely misses the main point of this protest.

    Second, Wood complains that the authors of the petition are from developed countries, but neglects to mention that the author of the book in question is as well. If this somehow is a disqualifying characteristic, it would apply to the book in question. It also raises questions about Mr. Wood’s origins, which he does not disclose. But in any case, several of the authors of the petition have spent many years in the global South, and therefore have as much credibility as Mr. Wood on that basis.

    Certainly, developing countries should make up their own “minds” about any of the issues discussed in the book. But that should also not stop discussion by all who are interested. And in practical terms, those who advocate the policies and technologies of the book in question–including major corporations and developed-country governments–are coercing and otherwise busy pushing their points of view onto developing countries.

    Finally, as an agricultural scientist who has studied agroecology (and molecular biology) for many years, I disagree with Wood’s insinuation that agroecology suffers from the same problems as the OUP book. One of the main criticisms is the lack of references to support the arguments in the book. Agroecology, by contrast, is supported by a voluminous peer-reviewed literature. And much of that literature clearly shows that it can (and does) contribute to sustainable and highly productive agriculture.

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