1st Edition

International Law and Agroecological Husbandry Building legal foundations for a new agriculture

By John W. Head Copyright 2017
    446 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    446 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Remarkable advances are being made in life science and agricultural research to reform the methods of food production, particularly with regard to staple grain and legume crops, in ways that will better reflect ecological realities. However, advances in science may be insufficient to ensure that these possibilities for agricultural reform are realized in practice and in a sustainable way. This book shows how these can only be achieved through changes in legal norms and institutions at the global level. 

    Interdisciplinary in character, the book draws from a range of issues involving agricultural innovation, international legal history and principles, treaty commitments, global institutions, and environmental challenges, such as climate change, to propose broad legal changes for transforming global agriculture. It first shows how modern extractive agriculture is unsustainable on economic, environmental, and social grounds. It then examines the potential for natural-systems agriculture (especially perennial-polyculture systems) for overcoming the deficiencies of modern extractive agriculture, especially to offset climate change. Finally it analyses closely the legal innovations that can be adopted at national and international levels to facilitate a transition from modern extractive agriculture to a system based more on ecological principles. In particular the author argues for the creation of a Global Convention on Agroecology.

    Part 1: Orientation and Preview  

    1. Reconceptualizing Agriculture and its Legal Framework 

    Part 2: The Failure of Modern Extractive Agriculture 

    2. Modern Extractive Agriculture is Economically Unsustainable 

    3. Modern Extractive Agriculture is Ecologically and Socially Unsustainable 

    Part 3: The Promise of Agroecological Husbandry 

    4. What is Agroecological Husbandry? 

    5. Realizing the Advantages of Agroecological Husbandry over Modern Extractive Agriculture 

    Part 4: Building New Legal Foundations for Agroecological Husbandry 

    6. Necessary Changes in Substantive National Law 

    7. A New Collaborative Global Legal Framework for Agroecological Husbandry 

    Part 5: Conclusion 

    8. Pluralistic Sovereignty and Eco-States? 

    Appendix A "Bare-Bones Legal and Policy Brief": Building Worldwide Legal Foundations for a New Agriculture


    John W. Head is Wagstaff Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Kansas School of Law, Lawrence, Kansas, USA. He is the author of several books on international law.