Agroecology in Action
Extending Alternative Agriculture through Social Networks
296 pp., 6 x 9 in, 34 illus.
- Published: November 9, 2006
- Published: November 17, 2006
American agriculture has doubled its use of pesticides since the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring in 1962. Agriculture is the nation's leading cause of non-point-source water pollution—runoffs of pesticides, nutrients, and sediments into streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans. In Agroecology in Action, Keith Douglass Warner describes agroecology, an emerging scientific response to agriculture's environmental crises, and offers detailed case studies of ways in which growers, scientists, agricultural organizations, and public agencies have developed innovative, ecologically based techniques to reduce reliance on agrochemicals. Agroecology in Action shows that agroecology can be put into action effectively only when networks of farmers, scientists, and other stakeholders learn together. Farmers and scientists and their organizations must work collaboratively to share knowledge—whether it is derived from farm, laboratory, or marketplace. This sort of partnership, writes Warner, has emerged as the primary strategy for finding alternatives to conventional agrochemical use. Warner describes successful agroecological initiatives in California, Iowa, Washington, and Wisconsin. California's vast and diverse specialty-crop agriculture has already produced 32 agricultural partnerships, and Warner pays particular attention to agroecological efforts in that state, including those under way in the pear, winegrape, and almond farming systems. The book shows how popular concern about the health and environmental impacts of pesticides has helped shape agricultural environmental policy, and how policy has in turn stimulated creative solutions from scientists, extension agents, and growers.
Keith Warner has done us a great favour in a very engaging way. In parallel to a candid assessment of the pervading obstacles to the advancement of agroecology in the United States, he has presented that which is working and why through a number of stories in a highly readable format....Thanks to Warner for a hopeful piece about American agriculture.
Constance L. Neely, Agricultural Systems
This book addresses a quiet revolution in California agriculture, an important story that few people know. It provides a powerful analytic tool for anyone investigating collaborative efforts to prevent pollution and promote environmental protection in food and fiber.
David Runsten, UCLA School of Public Affairs, and Executive Director, Community Alliance with Family Farmers
Warner demonstrates that the evolution of ecologically sound agricultural practices is not likely to occur without a coordinated effort that combines science-based knowledge, experience-based information, well executed social dynamics, and political support. He does a masterful job of making this case, which is grounded both in sound ecological and social theory and in actual case studies. This book will make a significant contribution to deliberations on the future of land-grant universities as they reinvent themselves for the 21st century.
Frederick L. Kirschenmann, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa State University