The growing evidence that agroecology could and should replace intensive farming


The post-war development in Europe of productivity-driven intensive farming, with its environmentally harmful use of synthetic pesticides, vast fields of monoculture, and industrial animal-rearing, could be feasibly replaced by large-scale organic farming, capable of feeding the continent’s populations under an agricultural umbrella system called agroecology. That is the conclusion of a large and growing body of international scientific research, and the subject of several recent studies published in France. Amélie Poinssot examines the evidence.

Reading articles is for subscribers only. Subscribe now.

Following the end of the Second World War, a revolution in agricultural practices came about in Europe with the arrival of intensive farming, boosting production volumes to feed under-nourished populations. Its development through subsequent decades saw an expansion in the surface sizes of farms, ever more performant machinery, and the massive use of chemical-based phytosanitary products to ensure high yields.