Autonomy in the face of AgTech: How do we counter corporate narratives?

Between May and July 2023, La Vía Campesina participated in a training process together with other social movements, facilitated by the ETC Group and Growing Culture. Product of this reflection and collective construction, Brochures “ Autonomy versus technology ” and “ Technology Policy ” have been published that offer narrative tools to our movement to counter hegemonic discourses of Technological Agriculture and strengthen your own discourses on Peasant Agroecology and other narratives of the struggles for Food Sovereignty. We invite you to read and share them!

Today, new technologies are being conceived, designed, and implemented rapidly, without space to consider the implications and consequences for farmers. As a result, the agricultural landscape is changing rapidly, and farmers face growing threats to their rights and lives. It’s therefore becoming increasingly vital to examine and critique this technological push.

As it is, farming communities are often forced to decide whether or not to adopt tools that were created far from their fields and without their input. Most often, the expensive technologies we see taking center stage in formal food system dialogues serve the interests of the corporations who created them and disenfranchise the farmers they claim to support. Our work as civil society can focus on finding ways to counter and challenge these corporate narratives — to reclaim and reassert our voices, perspectives, and values through our own stories.


A Growing Culture and ETC Group created this set of tools to synthesize the insights of social movements and civil society communicators and offer ways to respond quickly and effectively to corporate agtech narratives. Because there are so many new technologies put forward every year and given that each can take time and in-depth knowledge to understand, an intervention method that focuses less on the technical details of each of these products and more on the influential stories and narratives being used to sell them would be more effective. These documents present strategies for identifying how popular narratives around technologies work, their impact and implications, what gives them power, and how we can take it back.