The Myth of Monoculture

Jason Ball at

The Myth of Monoculture is that it is an efficient farming method. Ecological systems, however, have far better productivity and suit our nutritional needs.

Monocultures of crops are often referred to as the ‘arable deserts’ of the countryside. Usually this is a way of highlighting the dearth of biodiversity. Which begs a question: When people designed monocultures, where was the wildlife supposed to live? Choose a likely answer: 1)[Oh, we didn’t think of that. Is it good for something?] or is it… 2)[Yeh, we didn’t want that running around, making a mess.]

When you look at the science it is obvious why so many experts tell us that farming has to change.

Ecology – the science of ecosystems and the interactions between living things and with their environment – shows that complex, mutli-layered systems are more productive than simple systems. (Ecologists also know that deserts are not the least productive biomes of the Earth).

Vandana Shiva hits the nail on the head, in this video. Dr Shiva states that polycultures, with mixed food types, are healthier, and have many times more potential to produce food than monoculture crops.


I especially like the way Shiva puts the explanation into very simple terms. Despite being a particle physicist, she understands that the ideas she’s talking about must be easy to absorb. Discover more of her work at the Navdanya website.

© Jason Ball


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