A translocal network of agroecologists

Red de municipios por la agroecología

The Red de municipios por la agroecología is uniting several Spanish municipalities and local organisations since 2017 with the mission to link social services with food policies. The approach is translocal as it tries to build mutual support between local authorities. The network engages in a wide range of support and facilitations activities. Two members of each city are compensated to attend the monthly meetings where they share experiences, guaranteeing the active participation of the municipalities. There is a technical advisory team supporting the network, composed of all (former) farmers or pastoralists that have followed an agroecological training. They help out the public servants, for whom agriculture is traditionally not part of their standard policy tasks and mediate between different authorities on what could be feasible or desirable from a technical agroecological perspective. As such, they are able to link policy with concrete action; they coordinate wholesale markets geared towards more local produce, they set up farmstarts, small processing centres, composting infrastructure, mobile slaughterhouses and a local labelling system. Parallelly, they continue to develop the capacity building of network attendees by organising monthly webinars and offering customised programmes depending on the size, history and capacity of the city. While the interest in agroecology in the bigger cities (and their environmental departments) usually stem from both the organisation of their environmental goals as well as the upgrade of new and existing community gardens, the old Arab cities in Spain have an active agricultural department and are looking for technical insights, since they still have productive lands within their municipal boundary. In smaller towns, the technical team collaborates more with economic departments and positions agroecology as an experiment for alternative rural development. By not focussing directly on physical infrastructure but rather on training and capacity building within administrations and mediating between different policy sectors, the network is able to lobby local policy from a very concrete, action-based perspective that transcends political tenures.