What do we mean by agroecology? This is a question that is often asked when speaking with people about the work Trócaire does with farming communities overseas.
Trócaire, along with our partners in the CIDSE network of European agencies, recently decided to clarify the meaning.
The result is a short guide explaining the principles of agroecology.
Agroecology is a scientific approach to food production. In short, it brings ecological concern into farming. This means that it prioritises the health of the land and soil over short-term production needs. Intensive farming focused on single crops can do long-term damage to land. Agroecology promotes sustainable farming and crop diversification.
It increases the ability of communities to adapt to climate change. Increased biodiversity improves the soil, which in the long term increases a families food production. This improves the sustainability of food systems and also mitigates against the impacts of climate change.
It is also a socio-political movement. It seeks new ways of approaching the processing, distribution and consumption of food.
Fundamentally, agroecology prioritises the needs and interests of small farmers. The majority of the world's food is produced by small farmers. Despite this, systems often prioritise the interests of large industrial producers.
Agroecology helps provide food and income for peasant families. In doing so, it contributes to making local economies stronger.
This approach forms the basis of how Trócaire works with farming communities. By improving the health of land and soil, we can help provide a varied diet with better long-term results.