The power of voice! ICT for Agroecology: new model for knowledge generation and sharing

This LASER ZURICH and WWF collaboration will feature an artist and a scientist who will present their thoughts on this exciting and controversial topic. Dr. Eugenio Tisselli (Mexican-Italian Media Artist) and Bernadette Oehen (Botanist, MAS ETHZ. FiBL-Department of Socio-Economic Sciences). The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Angelika Hillbeck (Agroecologist from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Department of Institute of Integrative Biology, Zurich)


What is the impact of sharing information about species and pollinator depletion in agro-ecology? How can technology help change farmer’s behavior and empower them with a voice? How can we help to make learning a community activity?In the past 50 years of agricultural development, our agricultural environments have been adapted to produce only a few varieties of commodity crops that are traded globally: maize, soybean, rice, wheat and barley. The loss of adaptation to local growing conditions goes along with escalating use of fertilizers and pesticides, like insecticides and herbicides. Today, new strategies to increase species diversity, like pollinators, and natural enemies, and crop diversity are essential for plant protection but also for the production of diverse and nutritious food. This must include farmers and their involvement in breeding, seed sharing and crop production research but also the raising of awareness of the consumers to add value to food diversity. In order to implement these strategies, transdisciplinary methodologies that combine scientific knowledge with artistic and socially engaged practices can be of great value. In this talk, we will explore the impact that communal processes of exchange, sharing and mutual learning of agricultural information can have on agroecology and insect populations, as well as the livelihoods of farmers. We will also present practical case studies that illustrate how information and communications technologies (ICT) can amplify such processes, and help farmers make their voices heard.

Bernadette Oehen

Bernadette Oehen, a former WWF campaigner, is a Botanist and expert in organic farming, who teaches at the ETHz. She works at the Research Institute for Organic Agriculture (FIBL) Department of Socio-Economic- Sciences. Her research focus is agrobiodiversity and food. Currently, she is working for the EU funded project DIVERSIFOOD about diversity on the field and diversity on the plate.

Eugenio Tisselli

Eugenio Tisselli is a media artist and programmer. He is the director of ojoVoz, a sociotechnical platform for the collaborative creation of community memories. He is currently a post-doc researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ).

Angelika Hilbeck

is a senior scientist and lecturer at the Institute of Integrative Biology at ETH Zurich. Her research centers around agroecology and biosafety issues of GMOs. Through numerous research and capacity building projects she is engaged in several developing countries and works with UN, governmental and non-governmental organizations. Her work is embedded in broader issues of technology development towards a democratically legitimated, sustainable global future and actively contributes to the debate on biosafety, international agriculture, hunger and poverty alleviation.