Five Holistic Alternative Farming Methods: Agroecology at its Best

Published on nourishing the planet, by Ioulia Fenton, August 28, 2012.

In March 2011, the United Nations Special Rapporteur, Olivier De Schutter, presented a report highlighting how agroecology holds promise for alleviating hunger, reducing poverty, preserving the environment, and fighting climate change.  

“The core principles of agroecology include recycling nutrients and energy on the farm, rather than introducing external inputs; integrating crops and livestock; diversifying species and genetic resources in agroecosystems over time and space; and focusing on interactions and productivity across the agricultural system, rather than focusing on individual species,” says the report.

Today, Nourishing the Planet presents five ways in which different agroecological methods are being practiced to varying degrees around the world:

  • 1.      Duck attack on the rice paddies of Asia. Asian farmers cultivating organic rice have adapted an ingenious way to cut out pesticide and herbicide use—ducks …
  • 2.      It is all about the bushes and the bees in Canada. Bees are vital to agriculture and natural biodiversity—according to the Royal Society, 76 percent of the world’s most widely used food crops require pollination to be productive. A new Canadian initiative is looking to put bees to work to help conserve a fragile area …
  • 3.      Ancient and modern aquaponics around the world. According to the Centre for Sustainable Aquaponics, part of the solution to the global search for greener fish and crop production that does not use chemical fertilizers or pesticides can be found in aquaponics—a combination of aquaculture (the cultivation of aquatic animals and plants for food) and soilless plant agriculture known as hydroponics
  • 4.      “Do nothing but microorganisms” farming in Thailand. According to a report by Horizon Solutions, in Thailand, over 20,000 farmers have now adopted an integrated farming system known as “do nothing farming”—they cultivate crops with minimal interference in nature: “namely no ploughing, no weeding, no chemical pesticides, no chemical fertilizers, and no pruning” …
  • 5.      Grass framing in the United States. Joel Salatin calls himself a grass farmer. His Polyface Farms, in Swoope, Virginia, were made famous by appearances in Michael Pollan’s book An Omnivore’s Dilemma and the documentaries Food Inc. and Fresh. The hilly homestead is set on 100 acres of grass, surrounded by 400 acres of woodland. It is a polyculture—an agricultural system that tries to imitate the diversity of a natural ecosystem by using multiple crop and animal species in the same space. It includes chickens, cows, turkeys, rabbits, and pigs … //

(full texts).

(Ioulia Fenton is a Food and Agriculture Research Intern at Nourishing the Planet).

Links:

UN SR on the Right to Food;

Olivier de Schutter at UN;

Olivier de Schutter on YouTube;

The Hunger Games, on The Asian Age, by Vananda Shiva, August 15, 2012;

World War II Bomb Detonated in Heart of Munich, on Spiegel Online International, by cgh – with wire reports, August 29, 2012 (Photo-Gallery).

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