We can’t escape the need for agriculture, since it is inescapable on how we feed and live in the world. However, while we need agriculture, what we do not need is the damage big businesses do have on the planet.
And agriculture is big business. As About.com highlights:
“Just as an industrial enterprise might seek to boost profits by becoming bigger and more efficient, many American farms have gotten larger and larger and have consolidated their operations to become leaner as well. In fact, American agriculture increasingly has become an “agribusiness,” a term created to reflect the big, corporate nature of many farm enterprises in the modern U.S. economy. Agribusiness includes a variety of farm businesses and structures, from small, one-family corporations to huge conglomerates or multinational firms that own large tracts of land or that produce goods and materials used by farmers.”
Today corporation farms use machinery but fewer farm hands. Or consider this contrast: “In 1940, there were 6 million farms averaging 67 hectares each. By the late 1990s, there were only about 2.2 million farms averaging 190 hectares in size.”
But that doesn’t mean we can’t take steps to try compromise. This is the purpose of ecoagriculture. Indeed, ecoagriculture focuses on what makes agriculture producers important to the environment – not what they do wrong.
As Ecoagriculture.org notes:
“Ecoagriculture recognizes agricultural producers and communities as key stewards of ecosystems and biodiversity and enables them to play those roles effectively.”
To do this might require some additional funding, but this could be exactly the kind of endeavours businesses put agricultural finance toward. By making these sorts of efforts, we can also try focus on why agriculture is beneficial, not why it’s hurtful. Yes, it’s obvious that agriculture is big business but there’s no reason that has to mean it’s in opposition to the planet.
Consistently we’ve seen the benefits of such focused farming, with one eye toward the planet’s health and also local population. Greenpeace notes:
“Ecological farming enables communities to produce enough food to feed themselves. This form of agriculture fosters a future of healthy farming, and healthy food, to all people. Ecological farming helps the world’s population to mitigate—and adapt to—climate change.”
As the population of the world increases, as technology gets more improved, we need to find ways to keep up and do better for each other – and the planet that is supporting us.