Food & Agriculture


food for thought. thought for food.

The introduction of fossil fuels into agriculture reduced much human suffering — but it also created a massive spike in global population, creating an ever-growing need for more food. While our population continues to grow exponentially, our resources for growing food — from oil (for fuel) and natural gas (for fertilizer) to freshwater and topsoil — are rapidly depleting around the world.

Eating organic and eating local are only part of the solution. How do we reform global industrial agriculture so that we can feed nearly seven billion people (and rising) without wasting precious resources needed for at least the rest of the century? How do we build the food resilience of communities which have grown dependent on food supply chains built for a world of cheap oil?

videos

Agriculture in a Changing World

length: 29:26   credit: OnEarth Productions

"Agriculture is the oldest environmental problem," the Land Institute's Wes Jackson tells us early in this 27-minute video. Through interviews with 11 scientists, researchers and environmental experts, this short documentary considers that fate of agriculture and the environment in the age of agri-business and climate change.

Noam Chomsky, Bill McKibben, Tad Patzek , Wendell Berry, Mark Shepard and the rest of the cast explain that big agriculture's insatiable need for revenue not only afflicts the environment with toxic fertilizers, pesticides and carbon emissions, it degrades the state of agriculture itself by destroying the soil and subverting the natural evolution of animals, plants and insects. It is as unsustainable as it is unstoppable.

The local food movement and the resurgence of small farms provide a glimmer of hope on a gloomy horizon. "Last year was the first time in 150 years there were more farms and not fewer," McKibben says. Chomsky puts the dilemma in perspective when he says, "On the one hand you have highly concentrated capital supported by state power. On the other hand you have people trying to do things on their own. That's not just agriculture that's over the whole society."

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latest related publications

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Rebuilding the Foodshed

Philip Ackerman-Leist

Droves of people have turned to local food as a way to retreat from our broken industrial food system. From rural outposts to city streets, they are sowing, growing, selling, and eating food … >>

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