Building Medicinal Agroecology: Conceptual grounding for the healing of rifts

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this chapter we argue that industrial food production, distribution and consumption play a central role in perpetuating the present intersecting crises of poor health, biodiversity loss, climate change and inequality. At the centre of our argument lies a contention that multiple rifts (e.g. between humans and nature, urban and rural, food and medicine) have been radically accelerated by industrial capitalism and the technocratic responses it produces, and that such rifts are the root causes of these crises. Fundamentally extractive in their commodification of labour, nature and knowledge, current food systems have cemented these deep metabolic, epistemic and social rifts, the roots of which reach back to at least the invention of the plough. The implications continue to shape health outcomes today. We argue that medicinal agroecology, existing in diverse forms but united by an understanding of food and nutrition as medicine, heals the rifts that separate us from the natural world and each other. Medicinal agroecology, as we conceive it, offers a pathway to planetary health by directly addressing the root causes of these crises rather than their symptoms, and thus constitutes a planetary medicine.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedicinal Agroecology. Reviews, Case studies and Research Methodologies
EditorsImmo Fiebrig
PublisherTaylor and Francis
ISBN (Electronic)9781003146902
ISBN (Print)9780367702977, 9780367705565
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2023


  • Agroecology
  • People’s knowledge
  • Ethnobotany
  • Soil health
  • Radical herbalism
  • Secondary plant metabolites


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