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Agroecology shares much in common with other approaches to sustainable farming. In fact, it integrates a whole host of practices such as organic farming, regenerative agriculture, and some aspects of permaculture, therefore contributing to sustainable development. In essence, it is a farming technique that allows agricultural practices to be respectful of the local environment and its ecological specificities.
Farming works best when working in conjunction with local ecosystems, for example, improving the quality and productivity of soil with biomass and available biodiversity, rather than using chemical alternatives. This may seem similar to organic farming, and it is, as it guarantees animal welfare, and the use of fewer pesticides, antibiotics and GMOs.
Growing crops beneath trees creates a sheltered microclimate for the plants whilst the trees deep roots bring nutrients to the surface. This creates a win-win situation for farmers, as this provides them with food security and balanced nutrition through greater crop yields, additional tree crop (such as timber, fruit or biomass), but also enables them to diversify their output, therefore protecting them from market and environmental volatility.
At both local and global levels we are facing multiple food system challenges; drought, soil degradation, flooding, biodiversity collapse and malnutrition. However, through the reintroduction of biodiversity and diversity of crops, this inexpensive technique is simple to implement and highly effective, allowing farmers to build upon what they already have, work with nature, and develop solutions to their own problem. As such, we can see how agroecology helps to minimise the pressures on the environment and allows for an alternative food and farming system.