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Voices from the Reading Group – Digitalization of Agriculture

On the 24th of March we had a reading group on the digitalization of agriculture and the readings were:

  • Reclaiming the Future of Food: Challenging the Dematerialization of Food Systems by Marcos Ezequiel Filardi and Stefano Prato (Right to Food and Nutrition Watch)
  • Digital control – How Big Tech moves into food and farming (and what it means) by GRAIN
  • Short excerpt from the Nyéléni Newsletter No. 37: The digitalization of the food system

Rather than doing a report of the reading group, like we have done previously, we decided to share some “Voices of the Reading Group” instead, with points that people brought up and questions they have raised. We hope that it can inspire you to think about the topic of digitalization of agriculture and maybe you can bring this discussion to your own circles and talk about it. Please note that these are not direct quotes but statements and questions compiled based on our notes of the reading group and what we heard people say. These statements reflect the variety of opinions and questions raised during the reading group but they are not supposed to be normative but hopefully can inspire some discussion and reflection.

Some Questions to Reflect Upon this Topic:

  • Is Digitalization of Agriculture actually fulfilling the needs of the farmers? Or are they creating a desire, an ideal behavior that people should strive for and that in the end creates more dependence? 
  • Can we as non-farmers judge them for their choice to start digitalizing?
  • Is digitalization maybe a pragmatic solution to the climate crisis for some farmers? Or should we focus more on other solutions such as agroecology?
  • There seem to be 2 narratives-either technology is good or bad, but is there a middle ground?
  • Is there a way that digitalization could be created bottom-up and addressing the needs of small-scale farmers? or Should we rather be asking why farmers turn to digitalization in the first place and see how we can make the need for digitalization obsolete?
  • What strategies have been used to push for dematerialization & digitalization of food and agriculture (what arguments are used and what language)?
  • “How can we challenge the dominant narrative that equates innovation with technology, to underline and promote peasant and indigenous innovations, practices and knowledge?” (question taken from the Nyéléni Newsletter No. 37: The digitalization of the food system)

Are you interested in the readings but did not attend the reading group? You can send an email to alina[at]aseed[dot]net and we will send you the pdf files with the readings. Guiding questions and more can be found in this continuous pad for our reading group: https://pad.riseup.net/p/Re4dingGr0up4seed-keep

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