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The Healthy Farm: A Vision for US Agriculture

American agriculture is at a cross-roads: a point where we can either apply our scientific knowledge to create a vibrant and healthful food and farming system for the future, or double down on an outdated model of agriculture that is rapidly undermining our environment and our health.

This model, the “industrial” agriculture system developed by business and science working together in the decades following World War II, had the goal of generating as much product as possible. It succeeded by using approaches better suited to making jet fighters and refrigerators than working with living systems — but at a high cost.

In pursuit of productivity, industrial agriculture degrades the air, water, and soil; damages fisheries and wildlife habitats; harms rural communities; poisons farm workers; and undermines the natural resources on which future farmers depend. The good news is that the science of living systems has not stood still, and we have learned that there are alternatives to industrial agriculture that—by recycling resources and working with, rather than against, biological systems—can be just as productive, while sustaining that productivity far into the future.

Agricultural scientists call this sophisticated strategy agro-ecological agriculture.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has launched its vision for healthy farms. We support it whole-heartedly, especially since the vision reflects almost completely organic farming practices!

Here are the details.

Learn more about Agro-Ecology here:

Miguel Altieri: Why is agroecology the solution to hunger and food security?
Plumbing the Agroecology Zeitgeist
Crop Biodiversity: Use It or Lose It
The Ecology of Agroecosystems by John Vandermeer
Biodiversity in Agriculture by Paul Gepts
Genetic Engineering in Agriculture: The Myths, Environmental Risks, and Alternatives by Miguel Altieri
Timeless Books – Before Agro-Chemicals, Farming WAS Organic

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