Most people who settle for plant-based meals desire to live a healthier life while leaving a positive impact on the environment. Little did they know that some of the food they buy from the grocery store doesn’t nourish their bodies and can contribute to soil degradation.
Now, did that seem like a big jump? This article will look at monoculture farming and how it may or may not help people pursue a holistic way of healthy living.
What Is Monoculture Farming?
Farmers use many different farming types to grow their crops, but there are two crop production systems most commonly used: the monoculture and polyculture farming systems.
Monoculture farming is the agricultural practice of growing or producing one crop, one plant, or one livestock species at a time in a field or a farming system. In contrast, polyculture farming is growing more than one crop, plant, or livestock species in the same space at the same time.
Monoculture farming is a system that is mostly practiced in large-scale crop productions, and it often produces annual crops and permanent trees such as the following:
- Crops: Wheat, corn, rice, sugar cane, cotton, rapeseed
- Trees: Pine, eucalyptus, coffee, fruiting trees, citrus
- Animal Feed: Soybean, corn, alfalfa
- Agrofuel: Rapeseed, soybean, palm oil, jatropha, sugar cane
The Advantages of Monoculture Farming
This practice also has its undeniable benefits concerning farm productivity and profitability. Some of these advantages include:
- Higher Crop Production: Because this system is used for annually produced crops and a farmer only focuses on growing one, they achieve higher yields of the same crops all-year-round.
- Highly Sustainable: Farmers already know how to control certain environmental conditions to optimize their crops’ growth. They can deal with drought, high temperatures, or saline soils.
- Less Cost and More Savings: Because there are no varied plant needs, this type of farming often relies on machinery usage instead of human labor. Farmers only need to employ one farm machinery set because they only grow one crop, allowing them to save more money.
The Drawbacks of the Monoculture System
Everything sounds great. Now, let us dig a little deeper. Despite its numerous advantages for the farmers, this crop production system also negatively impacts its surroundings.
Depopulation of Rural Areas
Monoculture farming is often practiced for large-scale crop production in rural areas. It takes more of the available resources, such as water and land, away from the local population, which sometimes forces them to leave.
The market gets dominated by these intensively grown crops, making it difficult for smallholder farmers to thrive and sell their products.
Not a Natural Farming
Plants are naturally meant to mutate and develop along with other plant species. Growing identical crops on the same surface inhibits this natural process and disables crop biodiversity. Moreover, in this setup, the farmer determines the plant’s potential and the environment it will grow in, which can never be identified as natural farming.
Crop Production Stability
The plants learned to adapt to the environment condition that is set for them. When vulnerable changes are made to their living situation, it can put the whole yield at risk.
Increased Artificial Fertilizer and Chemical Pesticides
To properly maintain the large-scale crop production, the farmers frequently result in increased use of pesticides to manage heightened insect pest and disease occurrences. They also use more artificial fertilizers to boost their crop yield.
Degradation of Soil
Years of growing the same crop every time would make the soil exhausted, resulting in fewer nutrients. It can potentially make the crops less nutritious too.
Although monoculture farming can benefit many farmers and produce more of our favorite crops and trees in greater quantities, it also poses a threat to plant and animal biodiversity. While every farmer has their right to decide what type of production system to practice, producing various crops and seasonally rotating them will help them grow more quality, healthy, and highly nutritious products while protecting the environment.
At the end of the day, everything is still about mindfulness. If people want to promote healthy living holistically, everyone should be more aware of where their food comes from. That includes mindfully choosing all-natural products grown in an organic farming setting.
Now that you know all about monoculture, challenge yourself to find the best possible source for your vegan nutrition. If you are looking for all-in-one essential nutrition solutions, LYFE Fuel has you covered! Get your plant-based proteins, superfoods, and supplements at our shop! We pride ourselves on helping our buyers nourish their bodies with sustainably-sourced ingredients. Place an order today!