Linking People, Purpose, and Place: An Ecosystem Approach to Agriculture
addresses the components of a trinity whose disintegration has led to many
of our current problems in agriculture and whose reintegration offers a path
toward a truly sustainable agriculture. In an era of increasing
globalization of food systems and dominance by multinational corporations,
we often forget that the purpose of agriculture is to feed and clothe people
while protecting the environment and that agriculture ultimately is pursued
in a particular place. The place is a landscape or region with a unique
combination of soils, climate, farming systems, people, infrastructure, and
social organization. Together they form an agroecosystem or agroecoregion.
By recognizing and working with the structures and processes that confer
sustainability on the ecosystems that underlie our farming systems, we can
effectively match our purpose to each place to achieve a lasting agriculture.
This handbook contains specific examples of some management practices that
can be used to incorporate beneficial ecological functions into farming
systems. For instance, guidance is provided for designing grazing rotations
to maximize forage production and applying cultural practices to limit weeds
and pests. The handbook also identifies many other sources of information
that can be accessed as needed. Indicative of the times, many of these are
Equally important, the materials convey both a process and an attitude. The
process is that of looking at natural systems for guidance on how to farm
more efficiently and profitably. This approach is something we can all
learn to do and without expensive equipment. As one author states, "If you
want to measure the health of your soil, just dig a hole!" The attitude is
that farmers, consumers, retailers, and all members of the food system are
also part of an ecosystem and that an understanding of our connections to
all the components is essential to our continued well-being.
To farm and live sustainably requires that each of us be receptive to the
lessons that nature teaches and share these lessons with others. To achieve
healthy watersheds, well-nourished populations, and vibrant communities
requires that each of us demonstrate leadership toward these goals within
our communities and accept responsibility for our actions as they relate to
these goals. We hope that these materials will help you to do so.
Linking Ecology and Agriculture
Whole Farm Planning
Weed and Insect Management
Resources and Information Sources
To order, send a check payable to the University of Nebraska for $10.00 US
(note it is for Volume 7) to Center for Sustainable Agricultural Systems, U.
Nebraska, PO Box 830949, Lincoln, NE 68583-0949. (Price includes s&h in
U.S.; for air book rate to Canada, add $5; air rate to other countries,
check with the CSAS office - this applies to all volumes in the series). For
questions, contact the CSAS office, 402-472-2056, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information about other volumes in the series can be found at
Pam Murray, Coordinator
Center for Grassland Studies and
Center for Sustainable Agricultural Systems
PO Box 830949
University of Nebraska
Lincoln, NE 68583-0949
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