Agroecology is the solution
The Peasant Popular Movement (MCP) is working with peasant farmers like Seu Lazaro to identify and restore local practices and seeds that were replaced by GM seeds and pesticides. Through popular education like the small demonstration plots using Creole seeds, MCP also promotes the use of agroecological practices such as the diversification and rotation of crops and the use of natural fertilizers. One such practice, Agroecological Corridors, combines crops with natural fertilizer species that recuperate soil fertility.
After many years of monocrops and heavy machines, soils lose fertility and cannot even grow grass. In the Agroecological Corridor, farmers cultivate plants with strong root systems to break through the compacted ground created by the use of tractors. These plants also produce a good amount of leaves and branches that will feed the microorganisms in the soil, thus increasing its fertility. In this system, farmers are able to continue producing food while improving the soil.
Seu Lazaro is using the technique on his farm for the first time. He planted his Agroecological Corridor in an area with depleted soils and he is confident that after some adjustments his area will reclaim the vitality it once had.
Agroecology employs a set of practices that are environment friendly, socially just and economic viable. Unlike industrial organic farming, agroecology is not limited to producing food without pesticides. It also protects local agro-biodiversity, and relies mainly on the work of peasant farmers to end hunger. MCP’s grassroots work to build more resilient agroecological systems that value local knowledge is critical in these times when entire peasant communities are vanishing under pressure from agro-fuels plantations to produce for export.
In fact, MCP’s agroecological work has three positive effects. By creating the conditions for peasant farmers to stay on the land, MCP helps to reduce hunger in rural areas (where the level of malnourishment is the highest), values peasants’ contribution to supply the local market (peasant communities in Brazil produces over 50 percent of everything is consumed) and creates a more sustainable food system that cools the planet.
Photo by Grassroots International.
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