Adapt to climate change. Nearly half of all human-generated agricultural greenhouse gas emissions are produced by industrial agriculture.
Industrial food production is dependent on chemical fertilizers, pesticides and petroleum-reliant farm technologies, while crops that have grown in a region for hundreds, if not thousands, of years are well-adapted to their environments and often require fewer inputs.
In many rural areas today, people now rely on ultra-processed food primarily produced from four “major” crops (wheat, corn, rice and soybean). This energy rich, low nutrient diet lacks diversity and often leads to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Increasing diversity in local food production improves health outcomes and provides consumers with greater food security.
Commodity crops often require heavy equipment designed for use by men, but when production returns to more diverse crops, women have greater opportunities to perform farm work as well as produce value added goods that support livelihoods across the value chain.
Sharing knowledge keeps traditional farming practices alive; by planting traditionally diverse, bio-regionally adapted crops, farmers protect their cultural and natural resources while increasing their resilience to climate change.
Growers can establish seed banks and other conservation practices to safeguard the genetic heritage of their crops for generations to come. In situ and ex situ seed conservation also provides farmers with greater food sovereignty and helps strengthen food traditions in their communities.