The agroecology space… We cultivate nature

The Earth has always nourished and accommodated us, and yet we humans often have not been caring and generous in return. On the contrary, the global industrial food system is unsustainable and unjust. Agriculture, paradoxically, is now both cause and victim of the ecological crisis.

The very activity that connects us most intimately to the land produces at least a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions through the excessive use of synthetic chemicals, deforestation, monocultures, intensive livestock operations, and the transportation of goods from one side of the globe to the other. Agriculture is a major driver of biodiversity loss, the erosion of soil fertility, and water pollution.

Fortunately, there are other models of agriculture—and of human existence—that we can adopt to mend the broken relationships between food production, the environment, ecological systems, and people.

One of the core areas at Terra Madre 2024 is the space dedicated to agroecology, an alternative food system paradigm that counters industrial agriculture. It is rooted in the reconstruction of relationships between people, agriculture and environment, food systems and society. Agroecology encompasses a vast and varied range of techniques and approaches, but all are characterized by the diversification of agricultural businesses and landscapes, avoidance of chemicals, protection of biodiversity, and stimulation of interactions between different species.

The agroecological farm is a holistic system that works to regenerate long-term soil fertility, build healthy agroecosystems, and secure just and dignified livelihoods.

Key words in agroecology

The agroecology space at and visitor itinerary at Terra Madre are organized around some key terms:

  • Knowledge. We learn from nature, re-establish a relationship with it, and recognize its importance.
  • Community. We show the multifaceted nature of the Slow Food movement and the diversity of our projects and network. The agroecological farm fosters exchanges within and between local communities and the global Slow Food movement.
  • Diversity. Following the example of nature, which is highly creative and teaming with different forms of life, we propose a model in which a diversity of animal and plant species, breeds, and varieties coexist, giving rise to resilient agroecosystems that strengthen food security.
  • Justice. It is not possible to respect people and the planet without a sense of justice. In agroecology, there are three pillars of justice: the environmental, the social, and the economic.
  • Synergy. We work to enhance positive interactions, synergy, integration, and complementarity between the different elements of the agroecosystem (plants, animals, trees, soil, water) and we show how production systems based on a balanced relationship between these elements is not only resilient, but economically sustainable.

You are all invited to visit and explore the agroecology space and to participate in the events being held in this area, about which more information will be published soon. Agroecology is on the side of nature!

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Terra Madre Salone del Gusto is organized by Slow Food, the City of Turin and the Piedmont Region. Join us in Parco Dora, Turin, from Thursday, September 26 to Monday, September 30, 2024, and explore how food can restore our relationship with nature. #TerraMadre2024

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