Agroecology loses one of its founding fathers in Pierre Rabhi, farmer, writer and philosopher, a long-time friend of Slow Food, who has died at the age of 83.
A pioneer of agroecology, Pierre Rabhi was an Algerian man who moved to France in the 1960s. He was an international expert in the fight against desertification, wrote numerous books, started the Colibris network and, in the 1990s, founded the Terre&Humanisme association, which promotes the principles of sustainable agriculture with over 60,000 members.
“I started farming by realizing that when the earth lacks fertility or is devastated by drought, it is necessary to restore the balance between the various natural elements by planting many trees, learning to manage and conserve water, and using different techniques to repair the damage done to the environment,” he told us in an interview just a few years ago. For him, agroecology was not just a method of cultivation but a key to understanding. It overturns the agribusiness system, takes care of natural resources and enhances biodiversity: it offers us good practices. “A vegetable garden is a political act, of resistance.”
“We should explain well that today returning to the land is no longer returning to misery – that we have the technology to avoid it; it is returning to dignity, to beauty. And Pierre was a daily witness of this,” Carlo Petrini, a longtime friend, recalls.