Climate change and industrial agriculture pose a considerable threat to our global food system. Drastic changes in temperature, rainfall patterns, increasingly frequent floods, and extended droughts adversely impact farms’ crop yield and overall food production. At the same time, industrial agriculture is a massive contributor to the global climate emergency, largely due to the greenhouse gas emissions from factory farming.
There is no solution to climate change that does not also address the problems with the industrial model of agriculture. Despite the incredible scale of food production, industrial agriculture continuously fails to end widespread hunger and only serves to exacerbate the climate crisis that’s making it harder for farms of any size to effectively produce food.
It is critical that we move away from industrial food production. It depletes the soil, pollutes our air and water, exploits and abuses workers, and introduces dangerous chemicals into our food. “Big Ag” and its global supply chains are not designed or equipped to get food to the people that need it most. Growing food this way isn’t nourishing our communities, and it’s threatening the wellbeing of future generations.
How do we begin to address these issues? How can we create a just food and farm system that values people and planet?
One vital solution is agroecology, a set of sustainable practices that produces abundant pesticide-free food, replenishes the soil, mitigates many of the effects of climate change, and strengthens small-scale farmers and their communities. Agroecology is a way of putting power back into the hands of everyday people, producing high quality food and strong local economies.
By the Numbers:
- 70% of the planet’s fresh water is lost to industrial agriculture
- $2 billion is spent on cleaning up drinking water contamination caused by fertilizer runoff each year
- 3 times more food is produced per acre when using agroecological methods instead of industrial agriculture
- 30% of all greenhouse gas emissions are produced by industrial agriculture
- 100% of carbon emissions can be captured and retained by agroecological processes, while also conserving water
Agroecology is undoubtedly a powerful solution to many of today’s most pressing social and environmental issues. WhyHunger believes that in order to change the food system and provide food for all, we must scale this viable alternative. Agroecology is key to producing better quality food, revitalizing local economies, and providing sustainable livelihoods for millions of people across the globe.
You can learn more about agroecology, food sovereignty and solutions to climate change with these resources:
- “Agroecology: Putting Food Sovereignty into Action”
- Towards a “Peoples” Agroecology, article series by Blain Snipstal
- Agroecology in Puerto Rico , article by Corbin Laedlein
- Food and climate change: the forgotten link, by Grain.org
- Climate Change: Agroecological approaches to enhance resilience to climate change, article by Clara Nicholls and Miguel Altieri for Food First
- Survey shows that small-scale, agroecological farms produce high yields, deliver multiple environmental and social benefits, article by La Via Campesina
Dig a little deeper into social transformation with these resources: