Agroecology is a relatively new field of study, but it is actually built on many traditional agricultural practices. What the new field does is apply modern methods of scientific investigation and a unifying ecosystem model to those traditional practices, in the process identifying the better practices and improving them. Sometimes this research is done in university settings, such as at The Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at the University of California, Santa Cruz. But, sometimes it is done by practicing farmers. For example, one of my favorites is research by Tony Koch on using bats for pest control.

Systems of agriculture that are essentially agroecological practices go by many names, including:

In addition, there are hundreds of individual practices associated with ecological ways of growing, preserving and preparing foods, including:

What makes these practices important is that they all are ways of cooperating with natural processes to improve agricultural production. They are based on a unified view of nature that recognizes the inter-relatedness of natural processes. This differs significantly from the methods of industrial agriculture, which focus on one element at a time, for example insect pests, and find a way to control that one problem without consideration of the wider systemic implications of that solution.

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