Professor Frank Uekötter discusses monoculture in the Guardian

Professor Uekötter talked to the Guardian about sustainable food production.

Cotton harvesting

Industrial Cotton Harvesting

In the article, which was published on 15 November, Professor Uekötter discussed how the rise of industrial farming shifted agricultural practices from more sustainable crop rotation to intensive monoculture cultivation, often resulting in land degradation and an escalating desire for new lands.

Frank talks about how the plantations of the 18th and 19th centuries were a “get rich quick scheme” rather than a stable long-term investment. Once a field became unusable they would simply move on to new land.

Professor Uekotter is currently working on an ERC funded research project that traces the pathways towards monoculture and looks for recurring patterns and trajectories, common challenges and typical mindsets and thus aims to provide a better understanding of monocultures’ underlying rationales and dynamisms. The project approaches monocultures as ecological and socioeconomic trouble spots while also seeking to address the place of monocultures in the ongoing debates about the modern food system.

For more information, check out the project’s website:

The Making of Monoculture: A Global History - University of Birmingham