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The 10 Elements of Agroecology: Guiding the transition to sustainable food and agricultural systems

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February 15, 2024

Title of document: The 10 Elements of Agroecology: Guiding the transition to sustainable food and agricultural systems

Authors/editor: FAO

Journal’s name if any:

Ministry/Government Agency/Organization: FAO

Year of publication: 2018

Geographic focus: Global

Main issues/ topics addressed (for example:)

School of agroecology (if any):

Web address to original document (if any):


Today’s food and agricultural systems have succeeded in supplying large volumes of food to global markets. However, high-external input, resource-intensive agricultural systems have caused massive deforestation, water scarcities, biodiversity loss, soil depletion and high levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Despite significant progress in recent times, hunger and extreme poverty persist as critical global challenges. Even where poverty has been reduced, pervasive inequalities remain, hindering poverty eradication.

Integral to FAO’s Common Vision for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, agroecology is a key part of the global response to this climate of instability, offering a unique approach to meeting significant increases in our food needs of the future while ensuring no one is left behind. Agroecology is an integrated approach that simultaneously applies ecological and social concepts and principles to the design and management of food and agricultural systems. It seeks to optimize the interactions between plants, animals, humans and the environment while taking into consideration the social aspects that need to be addressed for a sustainable and fair food system. Agroecology is not a new invention. It can be identified in scientific literature since the 1920s, and has found expression in family farmers’ practices, in grassroots social movements for sustainability and the public policies of various countries around the world. More recently, agroecology has entered the discourse of international and UN institutions.