Any accurate appraisal of the viability of a more ecologically attuned agriculture must let go of the idea that the food system is already so globalized and corporate-dominated that it is too late to scale up a relational, power-dispersing model of farming. 14. Frances Moore Lappé is the founder of the Small Planet Institute, and the author or co-author of 19 books about world hunger, living democracy, and the environment, beginning with Diet for a Small Planet in 1971.

University of Wisconsin–Green Bay

Often the alternatives are set up formally as co-operatives, but others are consciously inter-dependent, recognizing that producers and consumers need one another. 6194 (July 2014): 326; Food and Agriculture Organization, Food Outlook: Biannual Report on Global Food Markets (Rome: FAO, 2013), Today, those subsidies are huge: by one estimate, almost half a trillion tax dollars in OECD countries, plus Brazil, China, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Russia, South Africa, and Ukraine.16 Imagine the transformative impact if a significant share of those subsidies began helping farmers’ transition to agroecological farming. About 40 percent of the world’s food depends on irrigation, which draws largely from stores of underground water, called aquifers, which make up 30 percent of the world’s freshwater. Silent Spring, the awakening of American Environmental Movement.. 2 (1999): 647; Dana Gunders, Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40% of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill (Washington, DC: Natural Resources Defense Council, 2012), Green Bay, Wisconsin 54311. Fumiaki Imamura et al., “Dietary Quality among Men and Women in 187 Countries in 1990 and 2010: A Systemic Assessment,” The Lancet 3, no. Intercropping is when crops are grown beside different plans between the rows. 11-02 (working paper, FAO, Rome, 2011), 4, Focus on …

way to ensure that all people have access to sufficient, healthful food. 7. The industrial model of agriculture—defined here by its capital intensity and dependence on purchased inputs of seeds, fertilizer, and pesticides—creates multiple unappreciated sources of inefficiency. Consider the current use of water in agriculture. Instead, in the Global South, the number of small farms is growing, and small farmers produce 80 percent of what is consumed in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.17. 3. Find information about food production, distribution, regulations and alternatives in the area or region where you live. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. FAO, “Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Use,” March 2014, infographics/infographics-details/en/c/218650/; Gunnar Myhre et al., “Chapter 8: Anthropogenic and Natural Radiative Forcing,” in Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis (Geneva: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2013), 714, Once citizens come to appreciate that the industrial agriculture model is a dead end, the challenge becomes strengthening democratic accountability in order to shift public resources away from it. Ecological agriculture, unlike the industrial model, does not inherently concentrate power. Some of agroecology’s additional benefits are that it can be used to improve soil fertility, adapt to climate change, and reduce the cost of farming. They see large-scale operations relying on corporate-supplied chemical inputs as the only high-productivity farming model. (2013, april 23 ).

This results in the sad irony that small-scale farmers—those with fewer than five acres—control 84 percent of the world’s farms and produce most of the food by value, yet control just 12 percent of the farmland and make up the majority of the world’s hungry.11, The industrial model also fails to address the relationship between food production and human nutrition. Unfortunately, groundwater is being rapidly depleted worldwide. Philip Zimbardo, The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil (New York: Random House, 2007). Scientists warn that within the next thirty years, over one-third of the southern High Plains region will be unable to support irrigation. We need to ask why the industrial model leaves so many behind, and then determine what questions we should be asking to lead us toward solutions to the global food crisis. afta web. Vaclav Smil, “Nitrogen in Crop Production: An Account of Global Flows,” Global Geochemical Cycles 13, no. These charters build broad social support by educating public officials and encouraging them to become actively involved in creating local food systems. Economic forces are a major contributor here: the industrial model operates within what are commonly called “free market economies,” in which enterprise is driven by one central goal, namely, securing the highest immediate return to existing wealth. Worldwide, from 1996 to 2008, a handful of corporations absorbed more than two hundred smaller independent companies, driving the price of seeds and other inputs higher to the point where their costs for poor farmers in southern India now make up almost half of production costs.10 And the cost in real terms per acre for users of bio-engineered crops dominated by one corporation, Monsanto, tripled between 1996 and 2013. This emergent relational model offers the promise of an ample supply of nutritious food needed now and in the future, and more equitable access to it.

The benefits to this are more biodiversity and maximizing growing space. This ample supply of food, moreover, comprises only what is left over after about half of all grain is either fed to livestock or used for industrial purposes, such as agrofuels.1, Despite this abundance, 800 million people worldwide suffer from long-term caloric deficiencies. Yet, they are some of the world's poorest and most food insecure people. Industrial agriculture, therefore, is a dead end. Fields and fields of the same crops. Sustainable Dictionary     Who we are     Contact us     Newsroom. Whether for bullies in the playground or autocrats in government, concentrated power is associated with callousness and even brutality not in a few of us, but in most of us.9 The system logic of industrial agriculture, which concentrates social power, is thus itself a huge risk for human well-being. Philip Howard, “Visualizing Consolidation in the Global Seed Industry: 1996–2008,” Sustainability 1, no. As mentioned in a previous blog post, industrial farming can be very harmful.

Dana Cordell and Stuart White, “Life’s Bottleneck: Sustaining the World’s Phosphorus for a Food Secure Future,” Annual Review Environment and Resources 39 (October 2014): 163, 168, 172. :, An added bonus from valuing local food is that it can lead to a new appreciation for regional cuisine and the creation of vibrant new food and farming cultures in communities across the country. For most of my adult life, I have been engaging in conversations about animals raised and killed for their meat, milk and eggs. Opportunities for successful farming in the future arise directly exploiting the weaknesses of industrialization by focusing on the relative strengths of the post-industrial, sustainable agriculture alternative. the guardian. 2, pp.

By progressively eliminating all or most chemical fertilizers and pesticides, agroecological farmers free themselves—and, therefore, all of us—from reliance on climate-disrupting, finite fossil fuels, as well as from other purchased inputs that pose environmental and health hazards.


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