By John E. Ikerd
With the decline of kinfolk farms and rural groups and the increase of company farming and the ensuing environmental degradation, American agriculture is in predicament. yet this drawback bargains the chance to reconsider agriculture in sustainable phrases. the following the most eloquent and influential proponents of sustainable agriculture explains what this suggests. those attractive essays describe what sustainable agriculture is, why it all started, and the way it will probably be successful. jointly they represent a transparent and compelling imaginative and prescient for rebalancing the ecological, financial, and social dimensions of agriculture to satisfy the wishes of the current with out compromising the future. In challenge and chance, John E. Ikerd outlines the results of agricultural industrialization, then info the equipment which could restoration monetary viability, ecological soundness, and social accountability to our agricultural method and therefore verify sustainable agriculture because the starting place of a sustainable nutrients procedure and a sustainable society. (20081101)
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Extra resources for Crisis & opportunity: sustainability in American agriculture
Change may not come quickly and it may not come easily, but change will come. American agriculture ﬁfty years from now will be fundamentally different from agriculture today; the question is not if, but how. The challenge is to change it in ways that will better serve the long-term needs of people — consumers, farmers, rural residents, and society in general — rather than the short-run economic needs of corporations. The challenge is to develop an agriculture that is ecologically sound and socially responsible so that it can also be economically viable.
The future belongs to systems capable of empowering people to be creative, innovative, productive individuals — not just cogs in some big industrial machine. Sustainable agriculture empowers people to be productive. Whether Americans will have the wisdom to develop a sustainable system of farming is a question that only time can answer. However, sustainable agriculture represents the best hope for the future of family farming, or even true farming, in America. Those who pursue a future in farming must be willing to commit their bodies and minds to farming.
A family farm provides recreation, education, a place to live, a place to raise a family, a place to relax and to ﬁnd harmony with nature. Such things, if they could be bought, would cost thousands of dollars for an urban resident, but they all come as a natural part of a true family farm. A family farm also can help meet the social and spiritual needs of the family, regardless of whether it contributes to their economic well-being. A family farm reﬂects the physical abilities, the mental capacities, and the spiritual values of the family.