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They are the cause of malnutrition. They are also inequitable, and unjustifiably wasteful.

Urban Farming: Food Production in Community Parks and Private Gardens

And they are concentrated in the hands of few corporations. Entangled in the multiple crises humanity is facing, establishing global food security is considered a key challenge of our time. Against the backdrop of climate change, resource shortages and urbanisation , the question of how to ensure adequate food supply for everyone looms rather large. The usual response emphasises intensifying the output of agriculture through the common model of petrochemical, large-scale, one-crop, intensive farming.

But business as usual is no longer an option for food and agriculture.

Agriculture & Food Production - Real Food Media

The global agriculture system will have to be radically transformed to avoid further environmental and social problems, as was concluded by a three-year study commissioned by the UN and the World Bank involving more than scientists. This report, as well as subsequent international studies by the UN Conference on Trade and Development and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food , have convincingly demonstrated that agroecology — farming that imitates natural ecosystems — is the most promising pathway to sustainable food systems on all continents.

Agroecology is based on the idea that farms should mimic the structure and functioning of natural ecosystems.

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Agroecology aims to close nutrient loops — returning all nutrients that come out of the soil, back to the soil. In the case of vegetable farming, for example, this could be achieved through composting of vegetable scraps, human and farmyard manure. Agroecology also harnesses natural processes to control pests and build soil fertility.

Amazing Japanese Fruit Harvesting and Processing Agriculture Technology

Agroecological practices include integrating trees with livestock and crops agro-sylvo-pastoral farming , producing food from forests agroforestry , growing several crops together in one plot polyculture and using locally adapted and genetically diverse crops and livestock. Throughout the world, small-scale farmers are uniting under the banner of agroecology. They do so not only to produce healthy and nutritious food, enhance biodiversity and adapt to climate change, but also to improve their income and working conditions by developing short food chains and local markets. But changes also need to be made on a larger scale. Some bodies recognise this.

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  5. Agroecology.
  6. Faced with the growing social and environmental costs of industrial farming, the European Union adopted a New European Consensus for Development in June This commits the EU to:. Support agro-ecological practices and actions to reduce post-harvest losses and food waste, as well as to protect soils, conserve water resources, halt, prevent and reverse deforestation, and maintain biodiversity and healthy ecosystems.

    But opening up agroecological pathways to sustainable food systems in the EU is a major challenge. Radical changes in funding priorities and research agendas are necessary.

    Planting ways

    Similarly, a total overhaul of overseas aid programmes is urgently needed to support crucial transitions to agroecology in Africa, Asia and Latin America. However, this is not currently happening. Our recently published research shows that very little overseas aid is directed at agroecological research and development. Farms smaller than one hectare account for 72 percent of all farms, but control only 8 percent of agricultural land. Analysts worry that large agribusiness firms could undermine these productivity trends on smaller farms.

    They are more interested in buying land from small farmers and then flipping it to other investors when prices rise. Unsurprisingly, wealthy countries have higher yields per hectare than poor countries, as they have better access to capital and technology and use labor more productively.

    Environmental challenges will put increasing pressure on family farms in the coming years. There is, however, scope to increase production on family farms through new and more effective use of technology and investments in infrastructure and research.