Use Renewable Resources
- Use renewable sources of energy instead of non-renewable sources.
- Use biological nitrogen fixation.
- Use naturally-occurring materials instead of synthetic, manufactured inputs.
- Use on-farm resources as much as possible.
Recycle on-farm nutrients.
- Reduce or eliminate the use of materials that have the potential to harm the environment or the health of farmers, farm workers, or consumers.
- Use farming practices that reduce or eliminate environmental pollution with nitrates, toxic gases, or other materials generated by burning or overloading agroecosystems with nutrients.
- Sustain soil nutrient and organic matter stocks.
- Minimize erosion.
- use perennials
- use no-till or reduced tillage methods.
- Dry farm.
- Use efficient irrigation systems.
- Use energy efficient technologies.
Conserve genetic resources
- Save seed.
- Maintain local landraces.
- Use heirloom varieties.
- Keep bank debt to a minimum.
- Reduce expenditures.
Manage Ecological Relationships
- Reestablish ecological relationships that can occur naturally on the farm instead of reducing and simplifying them.
- Manage pests, diseases, and weeds instead of “controlling” them.
- Use intercropping and cover cropping
- Integrate Livestock
- Enhance beneficial biota
- In soils
- free-living nitrogen fixers
- Beneficial insects
- Provide refugia for beneficials.
- Enhance benefial populations by breed and release programs.
- Recycle Nutrients
- Shift from throughflow nutrient management to recycling of nutrients.
- Return crop residues and manures to soils.
- When outside inputs are necessary, sustain their benefits by recycling them.
- Minimize Disturbance
- Use reduced tillage or no-till methods.
- Use mulches.
- Use perennials
Adjust to Local Environments
- Match cropping patterns to the productive potential and physical limitations of the farm landscape.
- Adapt Biota
- adapt plants and animals to the ecological conditions of the farm rather than modifying the farm to meet the needs of the crops and animals.
- Maintain undisturbed areas as buffer zones.
- Use contour and strip tillage.
- Maintain riparian buffer zones.
- Use rotational grazing.
- Rotate crops.
- Use polyculture.
- Integrate animals in system.
- Use multiple species of crops and animals on farm.
- Use multiple varieties and landraces of crops and animals on farm.
- Avoid dependence on single crops/products.
- Use alternative markets.
- Organic markets.
- Community Supported Agriculture
- "Pick your own" marketing.
- Add value to agricultural products.
- Process foods before selling them.
- Find alternative incomes.
- Avoid dependence on external subsidies.
- Use multiple crops to diversify seasonal timing of production over the year.
- Ensure that local people control their development process.
- Use indigenous knowledge
- Promote multi-directional transfer of knowledge, as opposed to "top-down" knowledge transfer.
- Teach experts and farmers to share knowledge, not "impose" it.
- Engage in people-centric development.
- Increase farmer participation.
- Link farmers with consumers
- Strengthen communities.
- Encourage local partnerships between people and development groups.Ensure intergenerational fairness.
- Guarantee agricultural labor.
- Ensure equitable labor relations for farm workers.
- Teach principles of agroecology & sustainability.
Manage Whole Systems
- Use planning processes that recognize the different scales of agroecosystems.
- Minimize impacts on neighboring ecosystems.
Maximize Long-Term Benefits
- maximize intergenerational benefits, not just annual profits.
- maximize livelihoods and quality of life in rural areas.
- facilitate generational transfers.
- Use long-term strategies.
- develop plans that can be adjusted and reevaluated through time.
- Incorporate long-term sustainability into overall agroecosystem design and management.
- Build soil fertility over the long-term.
- build soil organic matter.
- Human Health
- Cultural Health
- Environmental Health
- Value most highly the overall health of agroecosystems rather than the outcome of a particular crop system or season.
- Eliminate environmental pollution by toxics and surplus nutrients.
- Animal Health
- Plant Health