The 10 Elements of Agroecology: Guiding the Transition to Sustainable Food and Agricultural Systems

March 31, 2019
A translation for this article is available in French

This week’s Farmer story from Burkina Faso talks about agroecology. Our Resource focuses on the same topic.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has published a short (12-page) document that explains agroecology in relatively simple terms.

From the introduction to the report:

“Agroecology is fundamentally different from other approaches to sustainable development. It is based on bottom-up and territorial processes, helping to deliver contextualised solutions to local problems. Agroecological innovations are based on the co-creation of knowledge, combining science with the traditional, practical and local knowledge of producers. By enhancing their autonomy and adaptive capacity, agroecology empowers producers and communities as key agents of change. Rather than tweaking the practices of unsustainable agricultural systems, agroecology seeks to transform food and agricultural systems, addressing the root causes of problems in an integrated way and providing holistic and long-term solutions. This includes an explicit focus on social and economic dimensions of food systems. Agroecology places a strong focus on the rights of women, youth and indigenous peoples.”

The document lists the 10 interlinked and interdependent qualities of agroecology as:

  • Diversity
  • Synergies
  • Efficiency
  • Resilience
  • Recycling
  • Co-creation and sharing of knowledge
  • Human and social values
  • Culture and food traditions
  • Responsible governance
  • Circular and solidarity economy

See http://www.fao.org/3/i9037en/i9037en.pdf