Limited Resources: Land, water, and energy are at or near capacity for supporting the agricultural systems on which the world’s food supply depends.
Climate Change: As rainfall patterns and temperatures shift worldwide due to climate change, industrial agriculture will face additional challenges: unpredictable weather means unpredictable harvests.
Population Growth: The world’s population is expected to grow by more than two billion people over the next 30 years, to nine billion. We need to double global food production by 2050 to meet these needs.
Modern agricultural methods:
- Rely on increasingly scarce resources, including fresh water and fossil fuels.
- Deplete soils much faster than they can be restored through natural processes.
- Need increasing amounts of fertilizer to sustain current yields.
- Rely on a single species, the honeybee, to pollinate the majority of crop species, but the honey bee is suffering massive colony losses around the world.
We need to identify and create sustainable agricultural solutions for present and future generations.
- Diversification is the key to a new agriculture that is both productive and sustainable.
- Diversified farming methods will allow for more efficient adaptation to changing climate than industrial methods, with fewer undesirable or unpredictable consequences.
- Diversified farming methods include minimal tilling of soil, growing multiple crops together, planting cover crops, interspersing trees and shrubs with crops and livestock, raising diverse livestock on rangeland, and protecting wildlands in and around agricultural areas.
- Through diversified farming methods, we can create an agroecosystem that supports natural ecological processes and thus provides critical ecosystem services to agriculture: soil formation, nitrogen fixation, efficient nutrient cycling and water use, pollination and pest control