The agroecology is the ecological agriculture: the crop development taking into account the processes of the ecology. The idea of ecology, for its part, refers to the study of living beings as members of a ecosystem, emphasizing the links they maintain with the environment and with each other.
What agroecology does is consider ecological processes when establishing an agricultural production system. In this way, it is oriented to the care of the environment and analyzes the social consequences of their activity.
While traditional agriculture tends to be based on high energy consumption and intensive use of the land, agroecology understands that the Earth to be cultivated and its environment constitute an ecosystem. By paying attention to all the components and taking them as a unit, it favors the sustainability of the practices.
According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), agroecology is both a scientific discipline (analyzes the interactions between the components of the system) as a social movement (seeks to generate economic benefits for rural communities and reinforce their cultural identity) and a set of actions (for the optimization of production). It is a way of relating the knowledge of the science and the traditional knowledge to generate food in a sustainable way.
Agroecology, in short, is based on how people, animals, plants and the environment interact. Its solutions, which are always local or regional, aim at the use and maintenance of biodiversity, using natural energy (which comes from water, the sun, etc.), recycling the biomass and minimizing waste, among other issues.
A list of ten key elements for agroecology emerged from some FAO seminars, some of which have already been mentioned lightly in the previous paragraphs. Its objective is to provide guidance to the different countries so that they can convert their systems agriculture and food, exceed the many Sustainable Development Goals (the so-called SDG) and can integrate sustainable agriculture at the national level.
These elements, some of which we will evaluate below, can be used as an analysis tool decisions and actions, to know if a country is on the right track or if it should rethink certain issues:
* diversity: this point is necessary on the way to overcoming the great challenges, such as the decrease in biodiversity, the hungry or climate change. We guarantee the conservation, improvement and protection of natural resources, as well as the correct diet with essential nutrients;
* team work: there is no better way to face a great challenge than with a team of people who share our same goals. Since in this case knowledge and experience are so important, being able to exchange them with others is a benefit considerable;
* synergies: similar to the previous point, the joint action of several parties aimed at the same objective enhances the results, which in this case have a favorable impact on food production and respect for ecosystems;
* efficiency: one of the fundamental pillars of agroecology is the production of more using less;
* recycling: through the different recycling processes the economic and environmental impact is considerably reduced, without this negatively affecting the quantity or quality of the products;
* values: As in any movement that revolves around life, we should always prioritize respect for the values of each individual and of society as a whole. Agroecology seeks benefits for the whole world, not just for an isolated sector.