The planting of a single crop in large area allows for the specialization of production, which maximizes profits and minimizes expenses, allows mechanization and automation. However, monocultures are unsustainable. The soil starts lacking variability as one-side extraction prevents regeneration, causing loss of nutritional value over time. To support further crop growth, it is then necessary to use artificial fertilizers mined elsewhere. These further deplete the soil and strengthen the vicious circle of fossil fuel dependency.
Low plant diversity causes a decline in animal diversity, which leads to species extinction. Planting a single crop increases the risk that crops will be affected by diseases. Notorius examples are the Irish famine from 1845 to 1849, the Panamanian disease affecting the Gros Michel banana or the bark beetle crisis in the Czech Republic.
Better yields in monocultures are short-lived and will lead to erosion, habitat destruction, soil degradation through the use of fertilizers and pesticides, deforestation, environmental pollution and fossil fuel consumption. When consuming food produced in monocultures, we aid parceling the Earth, cultivated by automated machines and creating future deserts.
For this reason, through deliberate choice, we should target food produced in forests and polycultures or small parcels and produced in a sustainable way.
Coffee produced in foggy forestal polycultures on slopes of Sierra Nororiental, Eastern Mexico by Maseual, a NoMonocultures certified coffee producer. Photo: A. Příbová, myELEN.com