Agroecology vs Industrial agriculture

Perhaps our excessive reliance on biotechnology and GM crops stems from not fully understanding nature and how to work with nature to good effect. In the developed world we rely on industrial agriculture models which incorporate biotech, models that rely on carbon-intensive off-farm inputs and produce water pollution, negated ecosystem and human health, and biological deserts.

There are alternatives to using these destructive systems, though, alternatives that we once used in the past and that we are developing now. These alternatives rely on natural cycles, on biodiversity, on structuring our agricultural systems in a way which reflects how natural ecosystems work.

Though research is now emerging, up until now, we have not put enough effort into understanding how her systems work or how to apply these systems to a system that can work for us.

Is this because there is not enough of an interest or mass support for nature, or because there is not enough appreciation of the possibilities?

Is it because we have a childish fascination with only what we can create ourselves from scratch, with all our tools for refining, extracting, commodifying, engineering?

Is it because businesspeople who see an opportunity to make money have occupied these niches of perceived, apparent shortfalls in nature?

Perhaps it is because there is not enough of a profit in something that achieves food production for very cheap.

Perhaps we have seen an economic opportunity, based on an ideology of ‘technological solutions only, because thats what makes money’ and are milking it for all it is worth.

Agroecology is a way of looking at agricultural operations using an ecological perspective. It is a developing agricultural science that mimics patterns found in ecosystems that are fundamental to stasis and balance and regeneration, such as natural predation for pest control, and mixing of plant crops and animal crops in various combinations and cycles to replenish spent soil. Its advancement is spurred on ironically, as with its predecessor, by cost. There are many forms, but a holistic agroecology would consider the social costs to industrial scale agriculture, as well as ecological. There are many benefits to countries creating policy that redirects their agriculture along agroecological lines: the GHG emissions related to agriculture decrease, biodiversity improves, the peasant farmer is not priced out of the market, our human health and the health of ecosystems improves.

As always, I would be interested to know anyone’s thoughts.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s