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Mini-farming: a healthy, tasty and fun road towards sustainability

Updated: Apr 13, 2022

One of the main goals of UN Agenda 2030 is Zero Hunger (SDG 2). But when going into the depths of the relation between food and hunger, it is easy to see how it is tightly knit with different sustainability issues as well as connected to other Sustainable Development goals, like SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being), 9 (Industries, Innovation and Infrastructure), 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), 13 (Climate Action) and 15 (Life on Land).

To achieve these goals, having sustainable agricultural practices all around the world is of utmost importance, and the idea of Eco-Agriculture shows a lot of potential.

In this article, IRIS Sustainable Development aims to create awareness about:

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1. Understanding Eco-Agriculture:

Eco-agriculture or ecological agriculture is a fairly recent concept which started growing during the 1970’s, but now it is also starting to become widely accepted on a global scale (Ganzel, 2007). According to Greenpeace (2022), “[Eco-agriculture] is a vision of sustainability and food sovereignty in which food is grown with health and safety first, and where control over food and farming rests with local communities, rather than transnational corporations.” Eco-agriculture focuses on resilience and adaptability, converting small individual farms into sustainable ecozones that focus on environment, society and economy (Brodt et al., 2011).

According to the researcher Kiley Worthington (1981), the main aspects of eco-agriculture are:

  1. Eco-agriculture has a circular and self-sustaining production, which utilize byproducts for future productions, for example, manure.

  2. It is an ecosystem of its own: diverse in species and crops, stable and having high biomass production in a small land.

  3. It is local, mini-sized and has high yields and produced in a way that it gives out profits to the farmer.

  4. Eco-agricultural production and work should be ethical.

2. Why Eco-agriculture is better:

Eco-agriculture effectively helps with biodiversity conservation, poverty alleviation and reduction in carbon emissions, while providing the ecosystem services of pollination, decreased soil erosion and water purification (Buck et al., 2006). By improving agricultural practices on current production land, forest areas can be protected from destruction, which is a huge environmental problem when it comes to climate change and biodiversity. This is possible because as productivity increases, less and less land is used to produce more, which leaves more space for the wilderness to thrive (Gould, 2014). Also, Eco-agricultural practices decrease the use of inorganic fertilizers as well as overuse of fertilizers, which is another growing concern globally (Gould, 2014).

3. Why should one think of creating a sustainable mini-farm:

Image credits: Elemental Green

Apart from having immense scope of sustainability and profitability for farmers, eco-agriculture also promotes growing food in house lawns and gardens, which in turn: (Elemental Green, 2021)

  1. Decrease the cost of living

  2. Increase intake of healthy, organic and safe food

  3. Help the environment.

As of now, a huge amount of fertile land that can be used for food production is used for house lawns, which is not just a waste of land but also increases emissions over time (Elemental Green, 2021). This unused land can be productively utilized by turning them into easy to operate mini-farms.

For those who are further interested in turning their backyards into sustainable mini-farms, can refer to the book, “Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre” by Brett L. Markham, which will guide one through everything they should know to get started:

  1. Buying and saving seeds, starting seedlings

  2. Establishing raised beds

  3. Inculcating soil fertility practices

  4. Composting

  5. Dealing with pest and disease problems

  6. Explanation and guidance on crop rotation

  7. Sustainable farm planning.

Today’s world is developing at the expense of our environment, but we need to create a world that grows with the environment itself, like a part of the ecosystem itself. Initiatives and creative innovations like this eco-agriculture are a key to this kind of future and we all should encourage as well as inculcate such behavior into our daily lives.


Buck, L., Milder, J., Gavin, T., & Mukherjee, I. (2006). UNDERSTANDING ECOAGRICULTURE: A FRAMEWORK FOR MEASURING LANDSCAPE PERFORMANCE. (2015). 11 Facts About Sustainable Agriculture. DoSomething.Org.

Elemental Green. (2021). Why You Should Turn Your Yard Into a Mini-Farm.

Ganzel, B. (2007). The Sustainable Agriculture Movement Begins during the 1950s and 60s.

Gould, H. (2014, July 1). 10 things you need to know about sustainable agriculture. The Guardian.

GreenPeace. (2022). An Eco-Farming Revolution. Greenpeace USA.

Kiley-Worthington, M. (1981). Ecological agriculture. What it is and how it works. Agriculture and Environment, 6(4), 349–381.

Occidental Arts & Ecology Center. (2019). Organics & Ecological Agriculture. Occidental Arts & Ecology Center.

Sonja, B., Johan, S., Gail, F., Chuck, I., & David, C. (2011). Impact of Sustainable Agriculture and Farming Practices [Educational]. World Wildlife Fund.

An article written by Anisha Tibdewal

I am a 23 year old masters student at Lund University, studying environmental studies and sustainability sciences. I am also currently working as a sustainability communications intern for Lund University where I exclusively work with UNOPS S3i Innovation Centre in Sweden. I found myself interested in environment and sustainability as I grew more aware about environmental issues and having affinity towards nature inspired me to work on and off field to solve these issues.

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