PhD defence

Energy and labour use on farms: case studies from the Netherlands and China

Summary

The thesis is to explore the balance of fossil energy and labour input at farm level by comparing conventional and organic farming systems, and to explore the possibility to optimise sustainability of resource use in agricultural production. With the case studies from the Netherlands and China, it concludes that the so-called industrial agriculture – which consumes much more energy – is not the only nor the best trajectory for agricultural development. Moreover, organic agriculture with peasant qualities shows better potential in applying organic principles to optimise the sustainability of an organic farm, and organic peasant agriculture, or agroecology in practice, is valuable in the transition to sustainable food production.