Alternative agriculture is defined as production systems that do not use conventional methods. They aim at following the concept of agroecology. These kinds of systems seek sustainable performances while optimizing all agroecosystem resources.
Alternative agriculture gathers a lot of different systems such as organic agriculture, sustainable agriculture, integrated agriculture, agroforestry, permanent agriculture, etc.
Despite their differences, these systems share common values. Their technical itineraries were actually firstly thought as ways to preserve the environment and more precisely soil and water.
They also seek to reduce or suppress the use of chemicals and mineral fertilizers, thanks to respectively biological control and organic fertilizers and amendments. They intend to comply with natural cycles, by using crop rotations, cover crops or no-tillage for example. Thus, these systems try to fit their territories.
While achieving this goal, they also include a social dimension. The farmers who practice alternative agriculture often seek the overall improvement of their living standards. They also aim at including themselves in the local social network and at selling quality products.
Furthermore, farmers who practice alternative agriculture are able to ensure a profit and respect the environment and people. To achieve these goals, they can develop on-farm processing, producer-to-consumer schemes, agritourism, etc.
Alternative agriculture can be linked to agroecology thanks to their common concepts and objectives as well as biotechnical and socio-economical aspects. Alternative agriculture is sometimes mentioned to be in perfect synonymy with agroecology, or at least with a strong convergence of meanings.
IS IT THE SAME AS SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE?
What is Sustainable Agriculture?
The goal of sustainable agriculture is to meet society’s food and textile needs in the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Practitioners of sustainable agriculture seek to integrate three main objectives into their work: a healthy environment, economic profitability, and social and economic equity.” The author explores “the philosophy and practices underpinning sustainable agriculture.
There are many practices commonly used by people working in sustainable agriculture and sustainable food systems. Growers may use methods to promote soil health, minimize water use, and lower pollution levels on the farm. Consumers and retailers concerned with sustainability can look for “values-based” foods that are grown using methods promoting farmworker wellbeing, that are environmentally friendly, or that strengthen the local economy.
And researchers in sustainable agriculture often cross-disciplinary lines with their work: combining biology, economics, engineering, chemistry, community development, and many others.
However, sustainable agriculture is more than a collection of practices.
It is also a process of negotiation: a push and pull between the sometimes competing interests of an individual farmer or of people in a community as they work to solve complex problems about how we grow our food and fiber.
HOW RUSSIA WINS THE CLIMATE CRISIS
Climate change and its enormous human migrations will transform agriculture and remake the world order — and no country stands to gain more than Russia.
A great transformation is underway in the eastern half of Russia. For centuries the vast majority of the land has been impossible to farm; only the southernmost stretches along the Chinese and Mongolian borders, including around Dimitrovo, have been temperate enough to offer workable soil. But as the climate has begun to warm, the land — and the prospect for cultivating it — has begun to improve. Twenty years ago, Dima says, the spring thaw came in May, but now the ground is bare by April; rainstorms now come stronger and wetter. Across Eastern Russia, wild forests, swamps and grasslands are slowly being transformed into orderly grids of soybeans, corn and wheat. It’s a process that is likely to accelerate: Russia hopes to seize on the warming temperatures and longer growing seasons brought by climate change to refashion itself as one of the planet’s largest producers of food.
A curriculum guide for higher education
A PDF ARTICLE from Bioversity International
CLIMATE CHANGE BY THE ELEMENTS
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