A Global Corporate Trust for Agroecological Integrity: New Agriculture in a World of Legitimate Eco-states, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

A Global Corporate Trust for Agroecological Integrity

New Agriculture in a World of Legitimate Eco-states, 1st Edition

By John W. Head


304 pages | 32 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367252557
pub: 2019-06-25
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This book examines global environmental governance and how legal, institutional, and conceptual reform can facilitate a transformation to a new ‘natural-systems’ form of agriculture.

Profound global climate disruption makes it essential that we replace our current agricultural system – described in this book as a fossil-carbon-dependent ‘modern extractive agriculture’ – with a natural-systems agriculture featuring perennial grains growing in polycultures, thereby mimicking the natural grassland and forest ecosystems that modern extractive agriculture has largely destroyed. After examining relevant international legal and conceptual foundations (sovereignty, federalism, global governance) and existing international organizations focusing on agriculture, the book explores legal and institutional opportunities to facilitate dramatic agricultural reform and ecological restoration. Among other things, it explains how innovative federalism structures around the world provide patterns for reorienting global environmental governance, including what the book calls eco-states that would, through exercise of pluralistic sovereignty, be responsible for agroecological management. Drawing from his experience working in international institutions, the author provides detailed global-governance proposals for facilitating the type of agricultural reform that can help avoid ecological collapse, especially through soil degradation and climate change.

This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of international law, agroecology, climate change, ecological restoration, sustainable development, and global governance, as well as policy-makers and practitioners working in these fields.


"John Head challenges us to think differently about the kind of political structure the world needs in order to meet global agricultural and climate crises. He questions state sovereignty. He proposes “eco-states” that would carry responsibility for agricultural and ecological sanity. And he designs a new international institution to facilitate the fundamental transformations we need. This is a timely, well-written, and important book." — Tim Crews, Director of Research and an Ecologist at The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, USA

"John Head offers a radically sensible proposal for responding to the global agricultural crisis. A Global Corporate Trust for Agroecological Integrity is appropriately ambitious, daring to challenge the status quo not just with critique but with exciting ideas about reshaping international law and global governance. Head’s proposal for “eco-states” is one of the most important innovations I’ve seen in the quest to create a truly sustainable world system." — Robert Jensen, Emeritus Professor, University of Texas at Austin, USA

"John Head is a systems thinker par excellence. It’s only natural that he takes on two of the largest global systems—agriculture and governance—while putting them into creative conversation, and reasoning his way to sensible conclusions about our most pressing challenges. And not a moment too soon. Highly recommended." — Bill Vitek, Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, Clarkson University, USA

"After 10,000 years of soil degradation, our farming plainly requires radical transformation – and our decision making systems often seem equally divorced from ecological reality. John Head proposes a bold alternative: recasting governance on an eco-regional basis. With creativity and rigor, he outlines a legal framework for a world where wise conservation decisions happen because of – not in in spite of – our political order." — Fred Iutzi, President, The Land Institute, USA

Table of Contents

PART I: Reorienting agriculture: the promise and the challenge of agroecological husbandry

1. Modern extractive agriculture and agroecological husbandry

2. Legal challenges of transitioning to agroecological husbandry

PART II: Reorienting sovereignty: from nation-state to eco-state

3. Eco-zones and eco-states

4. Pluralistic sovereignty for agroecological governance

PART III: Reorienting ecological governance: a global public trust

5. International institutions, agroecology, and a defense of multilateralism

6. Designing the Global Corporate Trust for Agroecological Integrity

About the Author

John W. Head is Wagstaff Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Kansas School of Law, USA. Previously he worked for ten years in legal practice. He is the author of several books on international law, including International Law and Agroecological Husbandry (Routledge, 2016).

About the Series

Earthscan Food and Agriculture

Earthscan Food and Agriculture
This series includes a wide range of inter-disciplinary approaches to food and agriculture, integrating perspectives from both social and natural sciences. It includes textbooks, research monographs and titles aimed at professionals, NGOs and policy-makers. Authors or editors of potential new titles should contact Hannah Ferguson, Editor ([email protected]).

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Agribusiness
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Environmental Economics
LAW / Environmental
LAW / Natural Resources
NATURE / Ecology
NATURE / Natural Resources
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy
SCIENCE / Environmental Science
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Agriculture / Agronomy / General