Most commercial agriculture around the world comes in the form of monocultures, where whole fields are devoted to a single plant. Monocultures are stark landscapes, built around the logic of factories rather than the logic of farmers or forests.
It doesnt need to be that way. The monoculture way of thinking that underlies our contemporary food and agriculture systems is a fairly recent invention. Agricultural biodiversity has long been a part of the farmers toolkit, benefiting the natural landscape and agrarian life.
Nowhere is this clearer than with cotton. Since 2012, Ive researched the lives of farmers in India choosing between non-organic cotton cash crops and organic cotton programs, asking how people and their environments are affected by this agricultural decision. By learning how to work together, farmers and organic development groups can develop locally appropriate and mutually beneficial initiatives that reduce social and environmental vulnerability in these villages.