By John E. Ikerd
With the decline of relations farms and rural groups and the increase of company farming and the ensuing environmental degradation, American agriculture is in trouble. yet this predicament deals the chance to reconsider agriculture in sustainable phrases. the following probably the most eloquent and influential proponents of sustainable agriculture explains what this suggests. those enticing essays describe what sustainable agriculture is, why it all started, and the way it may well be triumphant. jointly they represent a transparent and compelling imaginative and prescient for rebalancing the ecological, financial, and social dimensions of agriculture to satisfy the desires of the current with no compromising the future. In difficulty and chance, John E. Ikerd outlines the implications of agricultural industrialization, then information the equipment which could repair fiscal viability, ecological soundness, and social accountability to our agricultural procedure and hence make sure sustainable agriculture because the starting place of a sustainable meals approach and a sustainable society. (20081101)
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Extra info for Crisis & opportunity: sustainability in American agriculture
The farm is as much a part of the family as the family is a part of the farm. The process of industrialization has systematically destroyed family farms all across America. The sole focus of industrialization is on operational and economic efﬁciency. There is nothing in the industrial model to help build, or even maintain, the productive capacities of people. In fact, specialization and standardization diminish people’s mental capacities because they focus on doing fewer things by the same means as everyone else, simply responding to directions or orders given by someone else.
Complexity, interdependence, and simultaneity are fundamental elements of the sustainable model, which is clearly biological rather than mechanical in nature. For such systems, size and form must follow function. In biological systems, individual components of ecosystems must conform to their ecological niche. Big, specialized farms will be sustainable only if their ecological, social, and economic niche is equally large and homogeneous, which is not the situation on most large farms today. It will take mind work, not physical or economic muscle, for farmers of the future to ﬁnd a niche where they carry out their function by means that are ecologically sound, economically viable, and socially responsible.
A farmer can make a difference in the lives of his or her customers and neighbors. We can all have an inﬂuence on the other people in our families, in our places of work, or in our communities. As we change our own lives in positive ways, we begin to inﬂuence those who share our little piece of the world. One by one, as we inﬂuence our little pieces of the world, the world begins to change. We will also be more effective when we go into the public arena to advocate larger social and political change, because we will be coming from a position of self-conﬁdence rather than desperation.