Making the Green Revolution

Agriculture and Conflict in Colombia

By Timothy W. Lorek

342 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 24 halftones, 3 maps, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-7382-0
    Published: May 2023
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-7383-7
    Published: April 2023
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-6080-4
    Published: April 2023
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-7381-3
    Published: May 2023

Flows, Migrations, and Exchanges

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In November 2017, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) celebrated its fiftieth anniversary at its headquarters outside Palmira, Colombia. As an important research center of the so-called Green Revolution in agricultural science and technologies, CIAT emphasizes its contributions to sustainability, food security, gender equity, inclusive markets, and resilient, climate-smart agriculture. Yet these terms hardly describe the Cauca Valley where CIAT is physically located, a place that has been transformed into an industrial monoculture of sugarcane where thirteen Colombian corporations oversee the vast majority of this valley’s famously fertile soil. This exemplifies the paradox Timothy W. Lorek describes in Making the Green Revolution: an international research center emphasizing small-scale and sustainable agricultural systems sited conspicuously on a landscape otherwise dominated by a large-scale corporate sugarcane industry.

Utilizing archives in Colombia, Puerto Rico, and the United States, Lorek tracks the paradoxical but intertwined twentieth-century processes that produced both CIAT and sugar in the Cauca Valley. This history reveals how Colombians contributed to the rise of a global Green Revolution and how that international process in turn intersected with a complex and long-running rural conflict in Colombia.

About the Author

Timothy W. Lorek is assistant professor of history at the College of St. Scholastica.
For more information about Timothy W. Lorek, visit the Author Page.


"An innovative study filled with graceful and accessible writing. Timothy Lorek offers new perspectives on the Green Revolution, emphasizing the place of Colombia and CIAT within it. This will be a valuable addition to the literature."—Stuart McCook, University of Guelph

"This innovative and persuasive book reveals the deep history of Latin American innovation and experimentation in agricultural science that preceded U.S. Cold War interventions by many decades, arguing for the vital importance of Colombia and Colombian actors and institutions to the global campaign of agricultural transformation that later became known as the Green Revolution."—Tore C. Olsson, author of Agrarian Crossings: Reformers and the Remaking of the US and Mexican Countryside