Virginia Tech promotes alley cropping as a method to protect the planet

Cheryl E Preston
Alley croppingPhoto byYoutube screenshot

An alley is an alley is an alley

Traditionally an alley is a narrow passageway between buildings. Some Virginia neighborhoods have alleys between the backyards of houses that face opposite streets. Researchers from Virginia Tech have found a different ue for the word and they are placing agriculture in the alley to help protect the planet.

Officially known as Alley cropping this is a process where trees and/or shrubs are planted in an area where horticultural or agricultural products are produced. Instead of a gravel road separating the backyards of homes the trees and shrubs are planted and crops are grown in between them.

Alley Cropping can diversify farm income, increase crop production, improve landscape aesthetics, enhance wildlife habitat and provide protection and conservation benefits to crops.
Alley cropping is beneficialPhoto byYoutube screenshot

Agroforestry is becoming popular

Virginia Tech Catawba Sustainability Center Manager Adam Taylor shared the following with WFXR. "We have a large focus on agroforestry, a practice of agriculture where we incorporate trees and or shrubs with crops and or livestock.” He added, “We’ve created rows of trees, and in the middle of those trees is the alley where we’re planting different things.”

Alley cropping is a modern method of agroforestry that addresses the effects of climate change such as increased herbivory-related issues, drought, and wind-related events while preserving ecosystems within agricultural land, reducing land degradation, improving biodiversity, and increasing the economic viability of farm operations.

According to Wikipedia, the alley cropping technique was first developed in the late 1980s and early 1990s in Costa Rico by tropical ecologist Mike Hands. Thanks to the research at Virginia Tech the Alley cropping method is growing and making a difference across the nation.

are planted in a location to create an alley where agricultural or horticultural crops are produced.

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I am a native Virginian who writes, about breaking news, nutrition, history, celebrities, and current events that are of interest to those living in the Commonwealth.

Roanoke, VA

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