Solutions from connections: 10 elements of agroecology that can guide us toward sustainable food systems
This article by FAO is on how to produce more food for the growing population with less fresh water, arable soil, available land for agriculture, or clean seas for fisheries. According to this blog, solutions don’t have to involve high-tech machinery or expensive system overhauls. Some of the most promising solutions come from the connection between nature and farmers. Agroecology is the concept and practice of managing and boosting nature’s own ecological process to improve productivity and avoid farming griefs, connecting knowledge and practices of farmers and food producers. There are 10 elements of agroecology that guide toward the transition to sustainable food and agricultural systems. 1) Diversity: By using varied agricultural production systems agroecology contribute to a range of production, socio-economic, nutrition and environmental benefits. 2) Co-creation and sharing of knowledge: Agroecology depends on context-specific knowledge, blending scientific with traditional data, thereby addressing challenges across food systems with agroecological innovations. 3) Synergies: when designing agricultural systems, creating synergies between all aspects helps to function better. 4) Efficiency: more efficiently using inputs, not wasting resources, conserving precious resources. 5) Recycling: agroecological practices support biological processes that drive recycling of nutrients. 6) Resilience: by enhancing resilience, agroecological systems have a greater capacity to recover from disasters. 7) Human and social values: agroecology puts aspirations and needs of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems. 8) Culture and food traditions: agroecology brings together reconciling traditional and modern food habits to promote local, seasonal, healthy , diverse food. 9) Responsible governance: Transparent, accountable and inclusive governance mechanisms on different scales are necessary to create an enabling environment that supports producers to transform their systems. 10) Circular and solidarity economy: local solutions are at the core of agroecology; supporting local markets and economies and shorten food circuits. In the end, the basic principle of agroecolgy is interconnectedness.
FAO created a Agroecology Knowledge Hub with more information and publications on all 10 elements described here.