Education and Meanings

Agroecology: is it and what are its characteristics?

The Agroecology can be defined as a technique developed in agriculture from an ecological character design.

DO YOU KNOW WHAT AGROECOLOGY IS?

Agroecology is a type of agricultural practice that prioritizes the conscious use of natural resources, that is, respecting and maintaining the resource throughout the entire production process — from cultivation to the final circulation of the products.

Agroecology is characterized by presenting itself as an option to reduce the problems caused by the common model of agriculture, causing a decline in biodiversity, indicating sustainable options that are beneficial to soil properties.

In agroecology, there is an understanding that all life forms present in an agricultural cycle have a connection and each one of its due importance and therefore, must be treated in an indispensable way to maintain the environmental balance.

WHAT ARE THE PRACTICES OF AGROECOLOGY?

Ecologically based agricultures, such as agroecology, deal with natural forms, integrating the environment and the elements that are present in it. The practices encompass not only care for plant and animal life, but also concern for life in the soil and its benefits, nutrient cycling, concern for the use of water, biological control of possible pests, animal welfare, the quality of life of those who are in direct contact with the environment, among other factors.

Ecologically-based agriculture uses different styles of knowledge, such as: Natural Agriculture, Sustainable and Ecological Agriculture, Agroecological, Alternative, Biodynamic, Biological, Organic and Permaculture.

The main practices consist in favoring the action of “agricultural organisms” framed in their terrestrial environment, ensuring balance, health and longevity for the land, agriculture and the final consumer.

Its classified practices must be the closed circuit of substances and forces between soil, animals and vegetation; creation where animals can live and develop according to their nature, paying special attention to all interactions and rhythms of their own environment.

Awareness is based on the premise that any disproportionate productivity would interrupt the balance of the agricultural organism and that it would be harmful to its health and multiplicity, thus seeking to maximize plant and animal biodiversity, the formation of a living soil and for a adaptable soil work.

There is an incentive to good agricultural practices aimed at good management of organic matter, working the soil at the right time, with the study of the biodynamic calendar for more references and through adjusted materials, long rotations with the use of adequate seeds in a favorable time and management correct use of green manures, mainly.

The practices involve health and ecology aspects with clear economic and social implications, and are defined as a system of agricultural exploitation based on the use of alternative technologies outside the commonly used, which seek to extract the maximum benefit from nature, from soil actions, from living beings, solar energy, water resources and is based on the natural method of soil formation.

In practice, the principle of recycling natural resources and enriching organic matter and soil microorganisms is used to make the agricultural exploitation lasting and rational, using leftover vegetables, preserving soil purity and allowing the recycling of nutrients to that plants develop.

In this sense, agroecology is born as a tool with the ability to efficiently help to prevent the growth of serious problems caused by major climate changes across the planet, with principles that are geared towards health and the recovery of the physical, biological part. and soil chemistry.

See here everything about Environmental Sustainability .

AGROECOLOGY CONCEPT

Agroecology is an area of ​​knowledge that encompasses different types of thinking, holistic and scientific advances, based on multidisciplinary studies, which contribute to adapting its current theoretical and methodological corpus, having as its main practice the agroecosystem, but also others such as composting, the production of humus with earthworms, agroforestry system, among others.

The concept of agroecological transition can be understood as a gradual and multilinear process of change, which occurs over time, from the ways of managing agroecosystems to styles of agriculture that incorporate ecologically based principles and technologies with aids that are much more than mere technological or agronomic aspects of production, encompassing larger and complex dimensions that comprise both social, economic and environmental variables.

WHAT IS THE PROPOSAL OF AGROECOLOGY?

Agroecology was born from the concept of establishing the production of healthier foods, which can be produced at scales sufficient to meet the needs of the population, all cultivated through sustainable agricultural techniques.

Agroecology aims at such production through the interaction between producers and the cultivated environment, that is, man and the environment in total interaction, making the human being itself seen as a component of this environmental system and such interactions occurring in a harmonious way.

Its main objective is, above all, to value biodiversity. With this premise, it aims to encourage diversified cultivation techniques, practices that enhance the ecological nature and where social issues, such as gender and culture, can integrate the productive character.

AGROECOLOGY PRODUCTION

Agroecological production is a reality in Brazil and in many parts of the world. Initially widespread in family farming and in small spaces, it is now being found in large properties that produce food on a large scale.

The first step to make this production viable is to abandon the pesticides and chemical products previously used in the plantations. Fertilization must be natural, with inputs taken from the site, with composting techniques , for example.

See here everything about Composting and Pesticides .

Production and cultivation, in the context of agroecology, is based on concepts that unite biology, science and sociology. Such union of principles allows the understanding of agroecology not only as a science, but as a movement dedicated to the study of productive human and biological relationships, with the characters of man, soil and nature. This innovation also encourages ethical and socially constructive practices.

Any type of practice, in this sense, is based on returning to knowledge obtained at different times, such as traditional, peasant and indigenous communities, who learned with holistic knowledge and can transmit knowledge. Such knowledge can be added to scientific techniques, developing cooperation between the participants in the process, in search of greater performance effectiveness.

WHAT ARE THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF AGROECOLOGY?

Agroecology has some principles that must be observed in its development, including:

1. Conservation of biodiversity in ecosystems, taking into account all possible interactions between the participants in the production cycle, whether they are part of the soil, biome or animal life, in order to regulate and ensure the property’s agro-ecosystem.

2. Create feasible conditions so that the use of the soil and its performance during the process can be preserved, as well as its fertility and the healthy development of the species, based on practices such as green manure, diversification between crops, permanent soil cover , culture in bands of other species, among other viable options.

3. Use of species or varieties that can adapt to the same conditions of the soil used, as well as correspond to the local climate, so that it is possible to minimize possible external needs that interfere with the good development of the crop.

4. Enable sustainable production, which is not based on the use of chemical products and fertilizers degraded from the environment, prioritizing the use of organic fertilizer, mineral products with simple decomposition and, mainly, favoring a phytosanitary management with regard to the control of possible pests or diseases.

5. Vary the economic activities of the property, seeking integration between them and maximizing the use of endogenous resources in order to reduce the obtaining of external inputs to the property.

6. Create mechanisms that help the local producer in self-management of planting and marketing of products, as a way to encourage the socio-economic development of the local community, always respecting its cultural context.

More precisely, agroecology can be seen as an approximation of agriculture based on the practices of nature, in which natural succession stands out, which allows the recovery of soil fertility, without the use of mineral fertilizers, and cultivation without the use of pesticides, through actions that seek the natural balance of soil components.

BIODIVERSITY

Biodiversity, protected in agroecology practices, can be defined as the variety of life or that of all forms of life existing on Earth, whether macro or microscopic. It can be appreciated at various levels, from the highest, where all species on Earth are considered, to the lowest, as the species that comprise the ecosystem of a certain property.

The centralizing project of agroecology is directly opposed to what preaches production based exclusively on monoculture. As is known, this form of agriculture is entangled with mechanisms of use and dependence on chemical inputs and the high mechanization of its crops.

This form of work ends up causing ingrained cultures of concentration of plantation spaces, unhealthy forms of work that border on slavery, and the perspective that production itself is entirely directed to other locations. The environment where it is planted does not benefit from what is harvested.

One of the main evils instituted by the practice of the so-called monoculture was the loss of a large part of the local biodiversity, which affected not only the ecosystem, but also brought problems to society itself. This practice leads to the homogenization of the system and the loss of possibilities for integration between the means.

MAIN CHALLENGES OF AGROECOLOGY

Currently, large-scale productions use monoculture management techniques. In this sense, for there to be a change in this production mechanism, it is necessary to have an agroecological transition in soils degraded by the practice of conventional agriculture.

The agroecological transition is the transition from the conventional way of producing with pesticides and techniques that harm nature to new ways of doing agriculture, with knowledge and scientific bases with ecological trends.

The objective is to provide, in an integrated manner to agricultural production, respect and conservation of nature, not forgetting the goal of providing better quality for present and future generations, of local, regional, territorial and/or national strengthening, whether they are consumers or agricultural producers.

The so-called transition from traditional agriculture to agroecological forms takes place internally and externally, as the modification of structural characteristics and in the form of cultivation, understood as internal changes, will have an impact on the production unit, which is located in the external environment.

But it is necessary that, so that there is really the use of agroecology as a form of cultivation, there is an indoctrination on the subject, in order to include the entire participating society, be it agricultural or commercial.

Such change must also be supported by the government itself, through initiatives that support and give scope to the feasibility of restructuring projects and implementation of agroecology.

IMPORTANCE OF AGROECOLOGY

Some of the factors capable of influencing the agroecological transition and the change in the cultivation and production system are greater public awareness, organization, markets and infrastructure, changes in education, research and rural extension, adoption of relevant legislation and inspection and an effective agrarian reform .

Agroecology can change the way we produce food and how it reaches people’s tables, collaborating with the people involved in the process, keeping the environment healthy and contributing to the quality of life of end consumers, that is, benefiting the entire society.

Website | + posts

Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

Robert Asprin

Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *