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Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 55; doi:10.3390/su9010055

Cover Crops as an Agroecological Practice on Organic Vegetable Farms in Wisconsin, USA

Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1630 Linden Dr., Madison, WI 53706, USA
Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1575 Linden Dr., Madison, WI 53706, USA
Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1575 Linden Dr., Madison, WI 53706, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Carol Shennan
Received: 6 October 2016 / Revised: 12 December 2016 / Accepted: 14 December 2016 / Published: 1 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Role of Agroecology in Archieving Sustainable Agriculture)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [523 KB, uploaded 1 January 2017]   |  


Global agricultural and food systems face the challenge of feeding a growing world population in the face of finite and diminishing resources. To guide the redesign of agricultural systems, farmers and policymakers are increasingly turning to agroecology. Organic agriculture has historically integrated agroecological practices within its regulatory framework; however, questions remain as to the extent to which organic farmers are maintaining and expanding agroecological practices. In this paper, we will address convergences and divergences of agroecological and organic practices. Using cover cropping as a model agroecological practice, we conduct a preliminary assessment on the degree to which organic vegetable farms in Wisconsin, USA are integrating agroecological concepts into their farm management, drawing upon the results of a 2013 cover cropping practice survey. The survey data demonstrates varying degrees of complexity and diversity in cover cropping practices, potentially illustrating the desire of organic farmers to promote a high degree of agroecosystem services. Farmers’ integration of cover crop diversity and complexity was not correlated to farm size or revenue. These results offer preliminary evidence that Wisconsin’s organic vegetable farmers are integrating agroecological practices on their farms, even as growth in the organic market continues to occur. View Full-Text
Keywords: agroecology; organic agriculture; cover cropping; ecosystem services; USA agroecology; organic agriculture; cover cropping; ecosystem services; USA

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Silva, E.M.; Moore, V.M. Cover Crops as an Agroecological Practice on Organic Vegetable Farms in Wisconsin, USA. Sustainability 2017, 9, 55.

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