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Place: Monoculture


Walker Art Center



Institution Walker Art Center
The destruction of a diverse ecosystem and replacement with a single species system. This is most often a crop of little local value, but with direct and/or indirect profit potentials in other regions or countries.

With its narrow pursuit of a single homogenized crop, the practice of monoculture has harmful implications: dependence on chemical fertilizers and pesticides, hybrid crops with a diminished resistance to weather and disease, and the depletion of the agricultural gene pool.

Conventional farm regimen in the United States
1. Fumigate soil with chemical to destroy soilborne diseases
2. Treat soil with herbicide to clean away weeds
3. Plant one variety
4. Treat soil with insecticide, to be absorbed by young plants
5. Spray plants with second insecticide
6. Spray weekly with fertilizer
7. Spray fungicide to control blight
Expense: $1,950 an acre. Labor: Little. Yield: $2,000 an acre

Organic farm regimen (prevalent worldwide, especially where farmers can't afford chemicals)
1. Rotate plantings to avoid pest buildup in one area
2. Spread cow manure from local dairy as fertilizer
3. Plant dozens of variations of crop
4. Add companion plants to attract beneficial insects
5. Introduce ladybugs to control aphids
Expense: $897 an acre. Labor: A lot. Yield: $4,000 an acre

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Type: Commentary, online content
Source: Place: Monoculture, from the website Global Positioning: Exploring Contemporary World Art, 2003.
Rights: Copyright 2003 Walker Art Center
Added to Site: March 1, 2009