The Agricultural System: Components, Linkages, and Rationale

This paper, written by Dr. Wayne Caldwell from the University of Guelph, provides an overview of the agricultural system and its component parts.

Jun 11, 2015   •   Food and Farming, Research

This paper, written by Dr. Wayne Caldwell from the University of Guelph, provides an overview of the agricultural system and its component parts. The agricultural system refers to the web of relationships that support the viability and sustainability of the agricultural sector. It includes the relationship between farmers and natural systems (specifically related to climate, geology, soil, air, pests), and farmers and other human systems (involving politics, land-use planning and infrastructure, law, finances, and marketing). These various systems and the relationships within and between them inform the production of food, agricultural goods, and other commodities.

This paper provides an overview of the Greenbelt's agricultural system and its component parts.

This paper posits that a more thoughtful discussion and understanding of the agricultural system can contribute to improved policy, as well as practices that help strengthen agriculture. Ensuring a strong agricultural system is important for ensuring a healthy source of local food and strong rural economies. 

The report has an intended audience of municipal staff (planners, building officials, etc.), municipal politicians, provincial staff (MMAH, MNR, MECP, etc.) and conservation authority staff and board members. It aims to enhance this audience’s understanding of agriculture in relation to their work and decision-making. In doing so, this paper can contribute to improved policy and practices that help strengthen agricultural viability.