|A comparison of traditional and conventional agricultural models||Traditional
craft horticultural production
intensive industrial agriculture mass production agribusiness
|Survival of the local community is the goal.
Risk aversion: don't put all your eggs in one basket.
Provide a constant supply of basic food needs first, then "luxuries."
|Maximization of production and profit based on economic rationality & efficiency.|
|A belief that the earth is alive, a more gentle manipulation - by hand.||The soil is considered to be dead, intensive mechanized tillage with heavy machinery.|
|naturally variable rainfall, some irrigation||irrigation|
|natural organic, fallow time, nutrient cycling, polyculture symbiosis||synthetic petrochemical fertilizer|
|Diverse seeds are locally developed. Crossbreeding and diversity for risk aversion requires diverse management practices.||Mass produced hybrid seeds are imported. Genetic manipulation and uniformity for maximum yields and standardization of management practices.|
|natural predators and polyculture resilience||petrochemical pesticides, genetic manipulation|
|hand weeding, polyculture resilience||petrochemical herbicides, genetic manipulation|
|Intimate knowledge of the local ecosystem passed down. Skillful but gentle manipulation of the ecosystem. Very labor intensive work at a variety of tasks.||Little specific local knowledge wholesale transfer of "technology" devised and diffused from central point - just read the label, mechanization with fossil fuels replaces most human and animal labor|
|agroecology: a diverse and complex mixture of plants in balance with the natural environment. resilient, automatically corrects for annual fluctuations, imitation of the environment's flora and fauna makes for a sustainable living system||conventional monoculture: "food production is treated like an
industrial process in which individual plants assume the role of miniature
the individual plant grows in a sterile, stable environment created with massive artificial inputs and energy
Plant illustrations by Mary Frances Jackson
Gliessman, Stephen, 1998, Agroecology: Ecological Processes in Sustainable Agriculture Chelsea, MI; Sleeping Bear Press