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Rethinking and Redesigning Agricultural Systems.

 
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peaceful_life



Joined: 21 Sep 2010
Posts: 544

PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 1:20 am    Post subject: Rethinking and Redesigning Agricultural Systems. Reply with quote

'This paper explores how industrial agriculture is a key contributor to many ecological problems and how redesigning agricultural systems using agroecological principles and methods could address many of these problems.

Agriculture uses 85% of freshwater and, directly or indirectly, produces nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions. Industrial agriculture accounts
for a large proportion of these ecological costs and also depends on high energy use and toxic chemicals. Agroecology presents an alternative paradigm of production based on ecological principles such as recycling wastes, minimizing energy and water use, maximizing genetic diversity, regenerating soil and increasing its carbon content, integrating livestock and crops intoa holistic system, and promoting other beneficial biological synergies. Moreover, agroecological methods have the potential to actually boost production and farm incomes, particularly in the global South.

Permaculture, perhaps the most widely practiced form of agroecology, also provides an ethical framework and principles that serve as a basis for discerning actions that enable the design of diverse, sustainable systems suited to a wide variety of cultural and ecological contexts. Widespread adoption of agroecological methods and permaculture principles could significantly reduce energy, pesticide, and freshwater usage while simultaneously restoring degraded soil, sequestering large quantities of carbon, creating more biodiverse agricultural systems, and satisfying human needs for healthy, nutritious food.

As well, engaging in ecologica agriculture may encourage practitioners to develop genuinely ecological dispositions and worldviews that enable them to approach problems and discern actions from a perspective that systematically promotes sustainability and social justice'


'Agriculture is arguably the most important human endeavor, both because it is the principle source of our food (Pimentel 2011) and because nearly half of all people work as farmers, 95% of whom live in the global South and roughly half of whom are women (Pimbert 2009).
Agricultural lands (cropland, managed agro-forestry, and grazing lands) occupy nearly half of Earth’s land area (Smith et al. 2007) and rival forests as the largest terrestrial biomes (Foley et al. 2005).

Due to its scale, the environmental impacts of agriculture are significant, but this is particularly true in the case of industrial farming, “capital intensive, large-scale, highly mechanized agriculture of crops with monocultures of crops and extensive use of artificial fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, with intensive animal husbandry” (Knorr and Watkins
1984).'


http://markhathaway.org/files/AgroecologyAndPermaculture(mhathaway).pdf
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