Image author: Gabriel Moinet

When I was 10, I witnessed my dad converting our family’s dairy farm to embrace agroecological and organic practices. Away with the synthetic inputs. No more mineral fertilisers, no more chemical pest controllers. Hedgerows of diverse native trees were planted between fields, and apple trees flourished in their midst. Complex rotations were introduced, enriching the landscape with a diversity of crops, grasses and forbs. Willows, alders and other riparian trees started populating the river side. We saw more birds, more insects, more flowers.
Now, I am a soil scientist working on agroecology. Meticulously, I try to connect the dots. My findings echo those of countless others: beyond debate is the intimate interdependence between farming practices and the multifaceted crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation. Farmers need biodiversity and a stable climate if they are to keep producing nutritious food (and earning an income!) in any timeframe beyond the next few years. Conversely, curbing climate change and halting biodiversity loss hinges on farmers adopting truly sustainable practices.
My brother now assumes the farm’s stewardship. Tirelessly, he keeps refining the practices, diversifying crops and activities, fostering innovation. Yet, despite some hard-won legislative improvements through CAP reforms and national and European laws, institutional support remains elusive. The last decades of legislative gains are now swiftly eroding under the influence of farmers unions that represent increasingly more agribusiness than the farmers themselves. Without robust institutions, without strong legislation, what is left to support my brother? What is left to help farmers taking the correct turn and follow him and others like him? Voluntary carbon markets? Besides the very real risk of promoting mitigation deterrence, such mechanisms fall short of addressing the complexity of our agricultural challenges (Moinet et al., 2023)!
In this little patch in Normandy, France, I saw the rise of agroecology. Let us not witness its fall! #EuropeForNature

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