Agroecology: Knowledge that Can Move Us Forward

agroecology_wellness_warrior.jpgAgroecology is the application of ecological science to the agriculture industry. It has incredible potential to get our food system back on track.

Unfortunately, it’s never hard to find news about the precarious state of our industrial agriculture system. This week, for instance, there’s a porcine virus dramatically affecting pork production. The worsening state of the California drought is another reminder that we’ve got a lot of work to do to make our food system safer, more resilient, and more just. Fortunately, some smart and motivated people out there are trying to fix it, and they are holding the Federal government up to the task.

With the help of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), a veritable who’s-who group of sustainable agriculture researchers has just released a letter to the USDA demanding the allocation of more money into researching the field of agroecology. Ricardo Salvador, director of the UCS Food and Environment Program, explains in his recent blog post that redefining the way we understand agriculture will be a vital part of conserving our world and our culture.

The industrialized agricultural system in place today is in fact the result of public investment, and of a concerted vision, a century and a half in the making. This national effort solved for productivity and scale, critical limitations in the mid-nineteenth century. The system of the future must solve for the critical externalities of the present system: environmental degradation and the health consequences of a junk food diet. . . .In brief, this means designing systems based on the understanding that nature is capital to be conserved, invested and grown, and not to be extracted and degraded."

Salvador’s blog post is an impassioned and inspiring piece well worth reading. Also keep an eye on the UCS letter; it started off with 36 signees, but is getting more sign-ons every day.

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Read all articles by Damon Cory-Watson 

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