Polyculture vs Monoculture Farming

Polyculture / Monoculture Card and CountersPolyculture Farming is the cultivation of multiple crops in the same field, either sequentially or simultaneously. The interaction of these plants creates a diverse self-supporting ecology, keeping soil healthy and increasing crops defense from disease and pests enough to negate pesticides[1].

Despite how it may appear, polyculture farming has been the prevalent method of food cultivation for thousands of years, with monoculture farming taking root as recently as the 1940s.

Its benefits were clear to farmers looking to maximise profits - less labour and the ability to mechanise or chemically address many of the more time consuming aspects of farming, such as weed control and collection.

Yet the long term effects are finally becoming clear - erosion, deforestation, contaminated and depleted soil and water sources, alongside widespread loss of biodiversity[2]. What's more, the intensive nature of this method has been shown to produce roughly one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions[3].

With world ecosystems under threat, farming intensification has led to a rise in the danger of disease[4], and with our global reliance on only a few crop strains, the loss of just one could lead to crop failures similar to the Great Irish Potato Famine of 1845, but on a global scale. Diversifying our farming techniques is a vital step to mitigating this disaster.

Cited Sources:

Search terms for your own research: Polyculture Farming Practices, Monoculture farming pros and cons, sustainable agriculture

 Natural Capital Accounting / Habitat Regeneration

 Industrial Chemical Farming / Population Growth 

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