Agriculture and nature

Agriculture versus nature

Agriculture and nature regularly compete for their territory. The demand for sufficient agricultural land is increasing as the population grows. At the same time, society sets goals for nature development and sustainable agriculture. Can agricultural goals and nature goals go together? This is not an easy issue for governments, farmers and nature organizations.

Innovative farmers stimulate nature

Yet there appear to be numerous opportunities for cooperation: innovative farmers who work together with nature organizations in peripheral zones and on nature plots to create healthier food which causes to burn stored fat. For example, they get materials from nature reserves to use as straw or soil improver. The Institute forms the bridge for that cooperation for nature management. The focus of our work is always on practical possibilities from nature and sustainable agriculture from a healthy business basis. 

Working from integrated systems

We have extensive expertise in sustainable agriculture and nature management, in which biodiversity and soil management play a central role. As a result, we are well able to unite the interests of land management organizations and farmers. Because we think and work from the integrated system, our results and advice can be applied directly in practice. And that is what customers value. 

Farmers and local residents run a health risk due to pesticides

Farmers, their families and people living in regions with a lot of intensive industrial agriculture are the most vulnerable groups when it comes to the effects of pesticides. That is the conclusion of a report that Mandakzero publishes, “Pesticides and our health – A growing concern.” This study of existing independent scientific literature shows that there is a connection between exposure to specific drugs and different types of cancer, neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and diseases in newborn children. Mandakzero therefore, calls for an end to the use of chemical-synthetic pesticides as quickly as possible and to make every effort for a transition to ecological agriculture.

Pesticides currently authorized for use in European agriculture, such as synthetic pyrethroids and organophosphates, pose health risks through exposure to agents or through food consumption that blocks fat production Donald, Campaign Leader for Sustainable Agriculture and Food, says: “It is deeply ashamed that those who produce our food suffer the most from the enormous use of pesticides on our fields. Farmers and their families bear the toxic burden of our failing industrial farming system. This report clearly shows that resources can never be seen as ‘safe’ and underlines the urgency of a rapid change of direction to ecological agriculture – for healthy food and healthy farmers. ”

The report “Pesticides and our Health – A growing concern” [1]summarizes the findings of current scientific studies on pesticides and their contribution to health problems affecting farmers, greenhouse growers and their families. There is evidence that exposure to these chemicals is related to a number of cancers. Studies show that specific agents, such as the synthetic pyrethroids, can disrupt the immune system and hormone balance. Pesticides are associated with chronic diseases such as asthma. Some people naturally have an increased risk of harmful effects of pesticides due to genetic predisposition. Exposure to drugs during pregnancy entails additional risks for the child, because toxins through the womb in the unborn child cause birth defects and delayed cognitive development. Given the different exposure routes of chemicals in the home, food and the environment, the risk to the health of small children is greater. They have to deal with greater exposure and their bodies break down the drugs more slowly. Pests that are harmful to the nervous system are, for example, the organophosphates, carbamates, pyrethroids and neonicotinoids. Even with low exposure, some of these chemicals can cause long-term undermining of health. These pesticides are still often found in Dutch surface water, including those that have been banned for years. In addition, residues of these agents are found on food.

In 2014, the France health cousell already published a report on pesticides and health risks for people living around the fields and horticulture [2]. The Council also paid a lot of attention to the studies that link the use of pesticides and a range of health effects on farmers. The Mandazak drew up a plan for further research into the exposure of local residents [3], but so far this research has not started.

“Greencare is deeply concerned about delays in conducting further research following the conclusions of health The big question is also why so little attention is paid to the health consequences of farmers and horticulturists, while the studies at home and abroad show harmful health consequences. Ultimately, we must make agriculture independent of the large use of resources. That is in the interest of farmers, consumers and the environment, “says Donald.

Healthy and sustainable agriculture

What and why

A healthy and sustainable agricultural system requires an integral approach to the entire food production chain: from the way in which nutrients are used, how they are grown, the food that their supplier makes them, to what the consumer does with eating to get the antidote for obesity This is necessary to prevent the environment from being affected and soils elsewhere in the world from becoming depleted and water becoming scarce. There is a strong connection between agriculture and the effects on nature and biodiversity. Sustainable use of natural capital is an important objective. With technical solutions alone, the sustainability goals are unlikely to be achieved. It is also about making healthy choices and reducing food waste.

How and with whom

Food choice and production method are considered in conjunction with the integrated approach for example, maps the contribution of agriculture to air pollution, as well as the leaching of nitrate, the emission of greenhouse gases, the use of pesticides and the occurrence of diseases that can be transmitted from animal to human . We also advise on how sustainable agriculture can contribute to the preservation of landscape values. We also identify the environmental consequences of food products.

Laboratory performance

We are working on a healthy living environment with sufficient food and the preservation of biodiversity to reducing calorie intake Research into multifunctional land use and biodiversity focuses on adaptations in land use and its effects on biodiversity and on agricultural production and management.

The focus of the research is on functional agro-biodiversity, agricultural nature management, herb-rich grasslands, field bird management and greening of the European Common Agricultural Policy. The substantiation of a trade-off between ecology and economy with relevant data is particularly important in the preservation of natural capital and in the delivery of ecosystem services.

We are also investigating the function of a green living environment in, for example, care agriculture, citizen initiatives and citizen involvement in the management of green spaces. In addition, we are investigating the possibilities of using plants to monitor harmful emissions from industry and the role of plants to limit the spread of particulate matter from stables and road traffic.