chapter  5
22 Pages

Alternatives to the industrial model

ByIvette Perfecto, John Vandermeer, Angus Wright

This chapter argues that the post-World War II period saw the evolution of a worldwide system of agriculture that is historically unique —based on monocultures and the use of agrochemical inputs. It provides a long history associated with alternative agriculture movements, beginning with practitioners who foresaw the future problems. The chapter summarizes the search for models that these movements seek to emulate, either wholesale or in part. it should be noted that the history of the emerging ‘formal’ organic agriculture movement is Euro-Anglocentric mainly because the formal challenge to industrial agriculture emerged from those places where industrial agriculture was prevalent: Europe and the US. Traditional or indigenous systems are the first model. Extant organic and agroecological farms, isolated amidst the ocean of industrial agriculture, provide another. And a third model emerges from the idea that the design of agroecosystems should be based on the ecological dynamics of local natural ecosystems: ‘natural systems’ agriculture.