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Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems

Life on land looks at how animals, plants, and people interrelate, or connect. This is called “agroecology.” Agroecology looks at the relationships between farmers and the impact on the environment. The University is in direct communication with local farmers in order to support and implement, or put sustainable farming practices into action.

15. Life on Land

Icon of a tree with the title "Life on land" Icon of a tree with the title"Oranga Whenua"

Agroecology

Life on land looks at how animals, plants, and people interrelate, or connect. This is called “agroecology.” Agroecology looks at the relationships between farmers and the impact on the environment. The University is in direct communication with local farmers in order to support and implement, or put sustainable farming practices into action.

Cover of the book "Agroecology and Sustainable food Systems"

“Life on the land” also includes how to use the Māori world in its sustainability practice. One project that uses concepts, or ideas from the Māori world (Te Ao Māori) is called, “Our Science Wānanga.” “Wānanga” in Māori language means university, or place of higher learning. Our Science Wānanga is a three-day, hands-on experience for Māori secondary students. Students in this programme stay on a marae (Māori meeting place) with other university students, scientists and kaumātua, (a person of status, or position). Students participate and share knowledge in their local communities.

A women with a fire in the middle of the night

In 2019 the University commenced, or began a collaborative research project to protect New Zealand’s native kauri tree and other treasured species from disease.

New Zealand’s native kauri tree

There has also been a lot of collaboration between the University and the Department of Conservation on New Zealand’s southernmost island called Rakiura (Stewart Island). This programme has helped to increase scientific knowledge of sand dunes and has even restored some of them.

Other projects involved student participation to clean up the glaciers around New Zealand.

Congregation of students from the science program

The University is working to reduce the number of predators, or animals that kill native animals, around Dunedin. The aim is to be completely predator free by 2050. This will mean that native animals in New Zealand, such as birds and other animals will increase. To help with this, the Dunedin Wildlife Hospital was set up. This hospital is a veterinary clinic specifically set up to treat native New Zealand wildlife.

"Wildlife hospital" help desk

Life on land also includes events such as tree planting, wetland planting, fauna counts, rubbish clean ups, eco-sanctuary visits and public talks.

What is Agroecology?

Look at the word “agroecology.”

What two parts can this word be broken into?

What is the part “agro” short for?

A. agrow b. agriculture c. agroculture

Answer:

The word “agro” is short for “agriculture.” Therefore, agroecology means studying the relation between agriculture and ecology.

KEY VOCABULARY
1. specifically 2. implement 3. restored 4. commenced
*Note: this vocabulary has been filtered through the Academic Word List from sublist 1 – up to and including sublist 5. Therefore, this course is designed to fit Intermediate Level English language learning students and above

Discussion Question:

Do you have any “native” plant, or animal that is protected by your country’s law?

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English Language Learning Through Sustainability

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