According to the definition of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), agroecology is a scientific discipline, a set of practices and a social movement. As a science, agroecology studies how the different components of the system interact. On the other hand, it can draw on many of the practices of organic farming, permaculture or biodynamics for its implementation. And, as a social movement, it seeks to put into practice a series of social processes capable of generating positive synergies that achieve human development through the strengthening of the local economy.
It seeks to optimise the interactions between plants, animals, humans and the environment, while addressing the need for socially equitable food systems in which people can choose what they eat, how and where it is produced.
- THE 10 ELEMENTS OF AGROECOLOGY FRAMEWORK
FAO developed the 10 Elements of Agroecology framework to help countries foster transformative change. The 10 elements are interrelated and interdependent and represent a simplified but holistic way of thinking about reality. They are:
Diversity: Diversification is essential in agroecological transitions to ensure food security and nutrition while conserving, protecting and enhancing natural resources.
Co-creation and sharing of knowledge: Agricultural innovations respond better to local challenges when they are co-created through participatory processes.
Synergies: Creating synergies enhances key functions of food systems, which supports production and multiple ecosystem services.
Efficiency: Innovative agroecological practices produce more using fewer external resources.
Recycling: recycling more means agricultural production with lower economic and environmental costs.
Resilience: Improving the resilience of people, communities and ecosystems is fundamental to achieving sustainable food and agricultural systems.
Human and social values: Protecting and enhancing livelihoods, equity and social well-being is fundamental to achieving sustainable food and agricultural systems.
Food culture and traditions: By supporting healthy, diversified and culturally appropriate diets, agroecology contributes to food security and nutrition while maintaining healthy ecosystems.
Responsible governance: Achieving sustainable food and agriculture requires the adoption of accountable and effective governance mechanisms at different scales, from local to national to global.
Circular and solidarity economy: Circular and solidarity economies that reconnect producers and consumers offer innovative solutions for living within the limits of our planet and, at the same time, strengthen the social foundations for inclusive and sustainable development.
- AGROECOLOGY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS.
Agroecology is a key response to ensure healthy, nutritious and sufficient food that respects human rights and the environment, in line with the following goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development:
- Zero Hunger: promotes local, stable and diverse diets with year-round integrated production of healthy and nutritious food.
- No Poverty: helps boost the livelihoods of family farmers and reduces rural poverty by reducing farmers’ dependence on external inputs, subsidies and volatile market prices.
- Climate Action: helps to protect, restore and enhance agricultural and food systems against climate shocks and stressors.
- Life on land: maintain and enhance natural functions and ecosystem services.
- Decent Work and Economic Growth: offers innovative solutions and decent employment for young people.
- Gender Equality: applies solidarity practices through collective action to reduce gender inequality.
- Reduced Inequalities: contributes to the realisation of the right to food by advocating for a people-centred approach and for the most vulnerable.