Lexicon of Sustainability
Watchword: Biodiversity

Watchword: Biodiversity

To draw attention to the best and brightest ideas in sustainability, the Lexicon of Sustainability's Food List project defines the words that are integral to a healthy, transparent, and accountable food system. Each week, we explore a new word through artwork, films, recipes, and written works. See all Food List words here.

Biodiversity: A sustainable agricultural system relies on biodiversity, a complimentary mix of plants, insects, animals and microoganisms that play a vital role in the development of healthy ecosystems.

Title: Biodiversity vs. Monoculture
Location: Knoll Farms, Brentwood, CA
Featuring: Farmer Rick Knoll
Image Credit: Douglas Gayeton for the Lexicon of Sustainability

Rick grows only organic fruits and vegetables on his farm. In the plot next to his, nothing grows there (unless Rick’s neighbor says so).

The conventional farmers next door call Rick’s organic methods “dirty farming” (they’re “clean”). Each winter their fields sit idle for months at a time. Since no cover crop is planted (a process that returns nutrients to the soil and increases soil fertility), the soil remains exposed to the elements. Wind erosion will carry some of this precious topsoil away, and in so doing releases carbon back into the atmosphere. Monoculture is growing a single crop over a vast amount of land which increases the risk of fungus, disease and specialized predators, which conventional farming combats with pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.

Short film: "A Very Old Concept" by the Perennial Plate

Wine has been made for thousands of years with two ingredients: grapes and time. At Cecchin Winery in Mendoza, Argentina they continue to make this drink in the same manor.

See how they do it.

For the past three years, the Lexicon of Sustainability has sought out the foremost practitioners of sustainability in food and farming to gain their insights and experiences on this important subject. What began as a photography project to spread their knowledge has grown to include short films, study guides, traveling shows, a book, and a website where people can add their own terms to this ever-evolving lexicon. See more at www.lexiconofsustainability.com.

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