Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR)
Coventry CV8 3LG
Tel: +44 (0) 2477 651 601/602
The Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR), based at the University of Coventry is the only fully resourced academic institution in the UK with a remit to carry out both research and teaching in the subject of agroecology. It has strong associations with the national horticultural charity Garden Organic, where some of its research is carried out. CAWR is a transdisciplinary international research initiative focused on the understanding and development of resilient food and water systems. CAWR's research will develop and integrate new knowledge in social, agroecological, hydrological and environmental processes, as well as the pivotal role that communities play in developing resilience. CAWR incorporates citizen-generated knowledge, i.e. the participation of farmers, water users and other citizens in transdisciplinary research, using holistic approaches which cross many disciplinary boundaries. They are also engaged in a process of democratising agricultural research both in Europe and further afield.
Their staff specialisations include:
- Michel Pimbert (Director) – Agroecology, food sovereignty and the right to food, delivering democratic processes, the governance of biodiversity and natural resources.
- Julia Wright (Deputy Director) – Low carbon systems, regeneration of the natural resource base, and resilience building in the face of natural and man-made disasters.
- Gemma Foster – Biodiversity in agroecosystems and urban growing spaces.
Current projects (2016) of particular interest include:
Policies and institutions to enable resilient food and water systems: This research critically explores the politically progressive thinking and action that is often needed to challenge and transform unsustainable structures and hold powerful actors and networks to account.
Recent research comes from a development focus, with UK based research relating to Food Mapping and an evaluation of Sowing New Seeds, a project run by Garden Organic on maintaining skills and knowledge of growing exotic produce among immigrant populations.
At present (2014) CAWR is working in partnership with the Ecological Land Co-operative, Garden Africa, the Permaculture Association and LUSH Cosmetics on a project to develop a set of “Indicators and Metrics for mapping the benefits of Agroecological Agriculture”. The aim of the project is to generate a self-sustaining public domain framework from which agroecological projects can draw relevant indicators and metrics for monitoring purposes and which they can use to support their projects and results with an evidence base that is widely acceptable to external power-holders (including administrators, policy makers and scientists). The project is currently at a very early stage, with funding being sought, while partners are discussing which indicators to focus on and how they might be measured.