“They’re making more people every day, but they ain’t makin any more dirt” The central challenge of agriculture is to provide for our needs while at least maintaining, and ideally increasing, fertile, living soil. “Sustainable agriculture” can sound dubious as a term, with the word “sustainable” much abused, and the word “agriculture” implying the extractive approach that has seen civilisations rise and crash. With widespread erosion and exhaustion of soils, the agriculture we need now must be more than sustainable, it must be regenerative. Such as approach is the art of producing, harvesting and distributing abundance, using the free resources of sunshine, air, water, soil, biodiversity and human intelligence, creativity and effective labour. Sustainable agriculture harnesses the ability of living things to create order out of chaos. Healthy agriculture operates a cyclical, circular economy, where water and mineral nutrients are cycled through the system, with maximum efficiency achieved by harnessing biodiversity and the myriad interactions of all levels of organisms. There are numerous schools of thought in regard to sustainable agriculture, but the most effective systems and principles emphasise the social embeddedness of agriculture, critical, adaptable thinking and decision-making, and maximising biomass, biodiversity and biological sysnergies and energy in the agricultural ecosystem. A few links to such “schools of thought” are provided below:
Other interesting sites…the list could go on….
BioLogic AgFood – “Dr Maarten Stapper describes a holistic picture of sustainable biological agriculture and how to get there through practice, science and thinking, to enable feeding the world and to slow climate change”