Ecology And Environment

Social and Economic Change through Diversified Farming Systems

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"Social and Economic Change through Diversified Farming Systems"
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Diversified farming systems is a method of farming that incorporates all farming methods that are sustainable. The purpose of diversified farming systems is to build a farming system that is inclusive and addresses the global needs of all people and ecologically sustains all species from the honey bee to the monarch butterfly to every living creature and earthly habitat.

According to the Berkeley Center for Diversified Farming Systems, "diversified farming systems are a set of methods and tools developed to produce food sustainably by leveraging ecological diversity at plot, field, and landscape scales."

Diversified farming systems has the capability to bring about worldwide social and economic change through its many benefits to the global environment and the people, cultures and species that inhabit this global environment.

Feeding the world population

Diversified farming systems (DFS) are important in order to feed all people around the world so that no people are starving or hungry. According to Berkeley DFS, the primary goal of DFS is to create a "socially just, and secure global food system."

Environmental challenges

Contributing to the rise of DFS are social and environmental challenges the world over, such as increasing population, climate change and depletion of the world's most important resources - oil and water.

Industrial or intensive farming practices are causing wide-scale pollution of water and air, oceanic dead zones with declining coral reefs, destruction of biodiversity and natural habitats and global warming.

Focus of DFS

The main focus of DFS is, according to Berkeley, "on local production, agro-ecological and local knowledge, and whole systems approaches to farming." Therefore, there would also be a reduction in environmental and social costs that industrialized agriculture imposes on farming practices, which in the long-term effects help to stabilize both local economies and the global economy

DFS as a discipline

Diversified farming systems has become a discipline and research project at some major universities. The study of DFS is interdisciplinary and includes sociology, ecology, agronomy, environmental studies, oceanography, economics, geography, anthropology, agroecology and ethnobiology, and may include any other social or physical studies related to the world of producing and distributing food worldwide.

It differs from organic farming, which may only include the organic and ecological aspects of farming but not the social aspects. It however includes organic farming. DFS is wholistic because it includes all disciplines that can help worldwide food production and build sustainable economic food systems worldwide.

Wholistic farming practices of DFS

There are both the physical (environmental) and the social aspects to diversified farming systems. Not only are the physical properties of farming utilized in a sustainable way, but the social manifestations of farming are also included, such as how farming contributes to the economy and how DFS can work to make farming worldwide environmentally sustainable, but also socially and economically sustainable by including all cultures and all people.

The physical practices of DFS include "building soil fertility, cycling nutrients and water, and supporting beneficial insects that control pests and pollinate crops." DFS supports planting a diversity of crop varieties, planting trees, including livestock and aquaculture, crop rotation, and intermingling wild habitats with organic and sustainable planned gardens and crop-growing fields. This practice of DFS should improve the world's "carbon footprint" and help in the reduction of global warming and climate change. With this significant change, the environment will flourish and all peoples, cultures and species will thrive in a global and sustainable food-producing environment.

The social practices of DFS are dependent on "diverse cultures, practices, and governance structures" and the local environment. In other words, DFS seeks to adapt the traditional practices of a culture with new methods of sustainable farming in order to meet economic and social needs of the particular culture involved in the improvement of their farming methods in order to sustain both their livelihood as a culture and their capacity to feed their families.

Diversified farming systems are wholistic and inclusive, serving all peoples and cultures, not only including the human race, but all species, so that there is an intermingling of all sustainable systems worldwide. This system, DFS, hopefully will improve the way farmers farm and the way cultures unite to bring peace and solidarity to the worldwide food system, enabling all creatures to survive.

More about this author: Colette Georgii

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