The Future is Rural: Food System Adaptations to the Great Simplification
February 19, 2019
The Future is Rural challenges the conventional wisdom about the future of food in our modern, globalized world. It is a much-needed reality check that explains why certain trends we take for granted–like the decline of rural areas and the dependence of farming and the food system on fossil fuels–are historical anomalies that will reverse over the coming decades. Renewable sources of energy must replace fossil fuels, but they will not power economies at the same scale as today. Priorities will profoundly shift, and food will become a central concern. Lessons learned from resilience science and alternatives to industrial agriculture provide a foundation for people to transition to more rural and locally focused lives.
Jason Bradford, a biologist and farmer, offers a deeply researched report on the future of food that reveals key blind spots in conventional wisdom on energy, technology, and demographics. The Future Is Rural presents Bradford’s analysis from his career in ecology and agriculture, as well as a synthesis of the historical and scientific underpinnings of the astonishing changes that will transform the food system and society as a whole.
Data: Source data for ‘In Focus: Diet and Land Modeling’ (pages 80-88)
Resilience.org: “The Future is Rural: The Unexpected Consequences of Energy Descent”
Radio EcoShock: “Reversing Urbanization”
Go Green Radio with Jill Buck: “The Future Is Rural”
KunstlerCast: “Chatting Jason Bradford, author of The Future Is Rural”
Down to Earth: Planet to Plate Podcast: “Envisioning a post-carbon food system”
Bradford, Jason C. “The Future Is Rural: Societal Adaptation to Energy Descent.” American Journal of Economics and Sociology 79, no. 3 (2020): 751–98. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajes.12335.