What is Agroecology?
Agroecology shares much in common with other approaches to sustainable farming. Agroecology is farming that “centers on food production that makes the best use of nature’s goods and services while not damaging these resources.” Farming thrives when it works with local ecosystems, for example, improving soil and plant quality through available biomass and biodiversity, rather than battling nature with chemical inputs. Agroecological farmers seeks to improve food yields for balanced nutrition, strengthen fair markets for their produce, enhance healthy ecosystems, and build on ancestral knowledge and customs.*
Promoters of agroecology strive to nurture a healthy landscape in which to grow the world’s food and fiber. They are guided by an ethos of bio and cultural diversity featuring small farmer-centered applied research and policies that protect their livelihoods. Worldwide, scientists, grassroots organizations, NGOs, consumers, universities, and public agencies are working with farmers to construct sustainable and nutritious food systems based in agroecology.
There are now unprecedented opportunities to advance agroecology globally. Too frequently, the corporate food system has negative impacts on people’s health, the environment, and the well-being of family farmers. Agroecology is recognized as both a mitigation and adaptation strategy for climate change. Consumers are increasingly demanding healthier food and a closer connection to food producers. Social movements around the globe – many with significant leadership by women's and indigenous organizations – are coalescing in campaigns for a healthy food system built on an environmental and human rights ethos. The demand for agroecology is rising.
*Source: More and Better
A Ghanaian Farmer’s View of Agroecology
For Kelle Gregory, a farmer in the Upper West region of Ghana, farming had become just plain hard. Kelle and his neighbors face parched and eroding soils, government policies inviting corporate GMO seeds, and low prices for their harvests.
Skidding towards hunger and poverty, they joined the farmers' organization, CIKOD. They learned to mulch, intercrop legumes with grains, and apply agroforestry techniques. Now, Kelle and other farmers are restoring moisture to the Sahel soil and shifting away from chemically-intensive agriculture.
Funded in part by a grant from the AgroEcology Fund, CIKOD also allied with a coalition of Ghanaian NGOs to block pro-GMO legislation, enabling farmers to retain control over their seeds. By joining hands with the African Food Sovereignty Alliance, organized farmers seek to influence the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and spread agroecology across the continent.