Looked at through the lens of the current industrial farming paradigm, gene editing makes sense as a ‘tool in the toolbox’.  But farming urgently needs to change and it is widely agreed that agroecology is the paradigm we need to adopt. So what does gene editing – and other high tech options – look like when assessed within an agroecological framework?

This session examines how genome editing looks when viewed through the lens of 10 principles of agroecology. An expert panel will explore the pace of development in genome editing – and related technologies, the force of the “tool in the toolbox ‘ narrative, whether it is a help or a hindrance to an agroecological transition, and how it affects farmers, policy and the perception of where farming goes next.


  • Maywa Montenegro, Assistant professor in Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
  • Jim Thomas, Research Director, ETC Group.
  • Chantal Clement, Deputy Director of IPES-Food.
  • Francesco Ajena, Independent consultant on sustainable and resilient food systems.
  • Chris Smaje, British farmer and author of Small Farm Future.
  • Nettie Wiebe, Organic farmer and professor of ethics at St. Andrew’s College, University of Saskatchewan.


  • Pat Thomas, Director, Beyond GM/A Bigger Conversation

Conversational format will include an audience Q&A session.