Profit vs. planet – can agroecology unite the two?

“Many hold the notion that agroecological or regenerative food must be more expensive. In our most recent report we show that this should not, and more importantly, need not be the case.” – George Chanarin, Cumulus Consultants.

“It requires re-imagining an entirely different kind of food system, one that is non-commodity, human scale and decentralised.” – Fred Price, Gothelney Farm.

In coming years agroecology is likely to increase farm profitability by as much as £34,000 without increasing the price of food.

Our analysis shows that without BPS most farms are unprofitable; change is needed. But what change? Is it possible to balance and integrate the production of affordable food and fair farmer incomes with diverse environmental goals?

Our research for the Soil Association shows that likely changes to policy and markets mean transitioning to agroecological management will increase the profitability and resilience of most conventional farms.

However, this is not enough to provide fair incomes to agroecological farmers. Policymakers and the private sector must strive to fairly reward farmers for the services they provide society. Collaboration between all of us acting within the food system is essential to support this goal.

If this can be done, agroecology and agroforestry offer viable solutions to effectively integrate environmental benefits with the sustainable production of affordable, high-quality food.

The full reports are available to download at