If the industrial agri-food system is deadlocked, but alternatives exist.
Among others, three very different models are being developed:
THE ORGANIC FARMING
Conservation Agriculture (CA) is a farming system that can prevent losses of arable land while regenerating degraded lands. It promotes maintenance of a permanent soil cover, minimum soil disturbance, and diversification of plant species. It enhances biodiversity and natural biological processes above and below the ground surface, which contribute to increased water and nutrient use efficiency and to improved and sustained crop production (FAO definition).
URBAN VERTICAL FARMS
AGROECOLOGY AND PERMACULTURE
The agro-ecological approach and permaculture (urban or rural) is the opposite of industrial agriculture. Instead of trying to tame nature by inflicting chemical or mechanical damage on it, it is based on careful observation of the spontaneous behaviour of nature, particularly in the forest environment. This observation, which is increasingly covered by scientific research, brings two good pieces of news:
- a natural forest environment produces much more biomass per hectare than a field of wheat, without input and without labour .
- on "living" soil, there is a tendency towards an equilibrium that spontaneously limits pathogens and pests. Pests and pathogens generally attack when there is an imbalance in the environment. In short, it works a bit like the macrobiota in our intestine.
Agroecology and Permaculture will imitate nature by taking care of soil life, by playing on the complementarities of species, crop auxiliaries (pollinators, pest predators,...) and more generally ecosystem services, which will work for us for free.
The taste and nutritional quality of products grown on a living soil will be exceptional. Indeed, we know that it is the life of the soil that will allow a whole series of nutrients to become available to plants and therefore to us.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AGROECOLOGY AND PERMACULTURE
Agroecology is an agricultural technique that can be applied to both micro and large farms, often reintroducing the crop/livestock complementarity that existed on mixed farms.
Permaculture uses agro-ecological farming techniques, so far mainly in small market gardening. But permaculture is much more than an agricultural technique. It is a complete conceptual system covering all human constructions and activities as an ecosystem integrated into the natural environment. This system was first theorized about 50 years ago by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in Australia.
CAN WE FEED THE WORLD WITH AGROECOLOGY?
- "An agroecological Europe in 2050: multifunctional agriculture for healthy eating" Published September 2018.
- « Toward a Common Food Policy For the European Union » Published Feb 2019.
- Comment allier résilience alimentaire et environnementale ?
How to combine food and environmental resilience?
Farming with Biodiversity, WWF 2021 https://wwfint.awsassets.panda.org/downloads/farming_with_biodiversity_towards_nature_positive_production_at_scale.pdf
- A Green Deal for implementing agroecological systems: Reforming the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union 2021, https://www.landbauforschung.net/fileadmin/landbauforschung/Pdf_Papers_Reviews/LBF-70-02-14_PP_Peeters_et_al_210112.pdf