Agritech companies have no real idea about the long-term impacts their actions are having on soil and its complex networks of microbes.
Agroecology offers concrete, practical solutions to many of the world's problems that move beyond (but which are linked to) agriculture. Agroecology challenges the prevailing moribund doctrinaire economics of a neoliberalism that drives a failing system.
Nyeleni (global congress for food sovereignty) produced The Declaration of the International Forum for Agroecology. It advocated a model of food production radically opposed to the current corporate-controlled system. The declaration represents a challenge to transnational agribusiness. Rather than wanting to transform society and food and agriculture, these state-corporate interests require business as usual.
Across the world, however, we are seeing farmers and communities resisting the corporate takeover of seeds, soils, water and food. And we are also witnessing inspiring stories about the successes of agroecology: a model of agriculture based on traditional knowledge and modern agricultural research utilising elements of contemporary ecology, soil biology and the biological control of pests.
Industrial agriculture has made it possible to produce large amounts of food efficiently, but comes with problems, including pollution, reduced biodiversity, pesticide resistance and consequent increased chemical use, destruction of forests and wetlands, and human health issues such as antibiotic resistance.
Agroecology is a vast body of science and knowledge that for farmers like Fanta Traoré in Mali, holds answers to the major problems facing the world's food system, among them persistent and growing rates of hunger and malnutrition, a huge ecological footprint, alarming climate change, and the increasing disenfranchisement of farmers. They use their ingenuity and time-tested knowledge to work with ecosystems, soils, seeds, water, and biodiversity, while producing food for communities and sustaining farm families on the land.
Agroecology blends ancient practices with scientific insights. A tasty example of agroecology is the cultivation of truffles