Agroecologists need a new set of tools to deal with the kind of complexity presented to them. The new tools are a combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes, since knowledge on its own, does not give the ability to handle a complex issue.
The agroecologist learns about farming operations and food chains, while at the same time learning to be a good communicator and facilitator able to turn theory into action. As well, agroecologists learn how to reflect and to be open to new ideas while recognizing the goals, needs and interests of the people they are working with.
The programme is designed to develop agroecologists who will be successful contributors to future food systems that must deal with production and economies, environmental impacts, and social equity issues. The following table summarizes the knowledge, skills and attitudes that are important in meeting this aim.
Agroecosystem structure and functioning
Evaluation criteria with emphasis on overall system sustainability
Methods for system analysis
Knowledge of problem- and conflict management
Specific knowledge of relevant topics e.g. Ecological agriculture, Agroecology, Adaptive management, Ecology, Environmental management
To bridge the gap between knowing and doing
Transform knowledge into action
Link theory to practise
To manage complexity and change
Communication and facilitation skills
Teamwork / Co-operation skills – in general and interdisciplinary. Autonomous, life-long learning
Learning to deal with ethics and values (personal and cultural)
Willing to take risks
Open-minded towards new methods, interdisciplinary approaches
Changes in general as opposed to status quo
Recognise the needs, values and interests of the actors and stakeholders
Investigative, Critical, Spirited, Determined, Approachable, Communicative