What is Agroecology?

hands holding soil

Agroecology uses biological principles to increase farm and productivity while conserving natural resources, as in organic farming, but also takes into account the wider social and economic context as it affects farmers and rural communities.

Biodiversity

Biodiversity, at all levels including crop diversity and rotation. This creates productivity and resilience at the same time as encouraging high levels of wildlife.

Animal Welfare

Farm animals are kept in ways that allow them to lead a good life, with breeds diets and living conditions that encourage positively 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 the agrarian economy and to rebalances the whole.

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 on 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, not too much unhealthy food for some.

For more information see the leaflet below.