What is Agroecology? FAO

What is Agroecology?

In June, we had the honour to have Kent Nnadozie, the Secretary of International Treaty, and Dr. Abram J. Bickler, Agricultural Officer – Agroecology and Ecosystem Services Team (NSPED), Plant Production and Protection Division (NSP), both from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) from FAO, speak to us on Sustainable Food Production and Implementing Resilient Practices and Agroecology.

What is Agroecology? According to Dr. Bickler, it is a new term to many but is essential and the future of agriculture. A transformative, systems-based approach that uses ecology to view food systems.

Food systems are highly complex and multifaceted. From growing crops and animals to cultivation methods, processing, packaging, transportation, and waste, there are many factors to be considered when looking at food systems. Agroecology seeks to provide an entry point to thinking about sustainable food production and considering all the internal and external factors involved.

There is no single definition for the term, and it is an ever-evolving concept based on the environmental, social, cultural, and economic context of the assessment of individuals. Generally, it applies ecological concepts and principles to optimize interactions between plants, animals, humans, and the environment while considering the social aspects needed for a sustainable and fair food system. This concept means looking beyond agriculture, crops, and soil quality and considers food heritage, culture, and human values and rights.

Agriculture doesn’t exist in a vacuum; it is in a particular environmental and socio-cultural context. ~Abram J. Bicksler

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) defines Agroecology as “a holistic and integrated approach that simultaneously applies ecological and social concepts and principles to the design and management of sustainable agriculture and food systems” (FAO, 2021).

Agroecology aligns with many SDGs such as 1,4,11,12,14 and is a promising approach to achieve the SDGs, although not an SDG in itself. The ten elements of Agroecology according to the FAO are as follows:

  1. Diversity
  2. Co-creation and sharing of knowledge
  3. Synergies
  4. Efficiency
  5. Recycling
  6. Resilience
  7. Human and social values
  8. Culture and food traditions
  9. Responsible governance
  10. Circular and solidarity economy

You can read about the FAO’s activities concerning agroecology HERE.

To learn more about agroecology and the FAO, check out our June webinar in the video below.

You can check out recordings of our other sustainability webinars at https://www.environfocus.com/environfocusknowledge/webinar-series-recordings/ or click HERE.

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