What is Agroecology?

hands holding soil

Agroecology uses biological principles to increase the productivity of the farm whilst also conserving natural resources (as in organic farming), as well as taking into account the wider social and economic context as it affects farmers and rural communities.

Biodiversity

Enhancing biodiversity is crucial at all levels – including through crop diversity and rotation. This improves productivity and resilience, while at the same time encouraging high levels of wildlife.

Animal Welfare

Farm animals are always kept in ways that allows them to lead a good life, with breeds, diets and living conditions that encourage both healthy livestock and healthy food.

Low Input

Instead of relying on external inputs (such as fertilisers, pesticides, antibiotics, feed) which are expensive, fossil fuel intensive and damaging to the environment and human health, agroecology emphasises biological farming and no waste.

Soil Fertility

Soil Fertility is vital to agroecology, which uses and conserves the huge productive power that lies in well-managed soils. Rotations (longer rather than shorter) help build fertility, as well as helping to control pests, weeds and disease.

Create Skilled Jobs

Managing a farm based on these principles requires an intimate knowledge of the land and climate – and how these affect the farm. Agroecology encourages a new generation to enter farming and to acquire these skills. This in turn restores and rebalances the agrarian economy.

Food Sovereignty

Food sovereignty requires people to have control over the way their food is produced. This means putting the people who produce, distribute and consume food at the centre of decisions about food systems and policies.

Economic viability

The socio-economic side of agriculture is key to agroecology, both because a farm must be economically viable, and because food and farming need to be embedded in the rural economy.

Healthy diets

Industrial farming has produced increasingly unhealthy diets in many countries – causing huge rises in diet-related ill-health. Agroecology aims to provide adequate food for all, rather than too much unhealthy food for some.

For more information see the leaflet below.