Failure of the Green Revolution

Due to the laws of thermodynamics, there is not a direct correspondence between energy inflow and outflow in agriculture. Along the way, there is a marked energy loss. Between 1945 and 1994 energy input to agriculture increased fourfold while crop yields only increased threefold. Since then, energy input has continued to increase without a corresponding increase in crop yield. We have reached the point of marginal returns. Yet, due to soil degradation, the increased demands of pest management,...

Urban Agriculture

Urban food production is already a growing phenomenon throughout the world. In 1996, urban farms produced 80 percent of the poultry and 25 percent of the vegetables consumed in Singapore.10 As a result of the failure of the Soviet Union, between 1970 and 1990, the number of Moscow families engaged in food production rose from 20 to 65 percent. Currently, 44 percent of Vancouver, British Columbia's population already grow some vegetables in their gardens. There are over 80,000 garden allotments...

Conclusion

Modern agriculture has charted a course for disaster. Our soils and water resources, and our weakened food crops, will fail us just as energy depletion makes it increasingly difficult to make up for these deficiencies through artificial means. The fossil fuel-based agriculture that allowed our population to climb so far above carrying capacity in the last century will soon falter most cruelly. There is, however, a chance to transform ourselves into a more sustainable and equitable civilization....

Permaculture

Permaculture (Permanent Agriculture) is the conscious design and maintenance of cultivated ecosystems which have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape, people and appropriate technologies, providing goods, shelter, energy and other needs in a sustainable way. Permaculture is a philosophy and an approach to land use which works with natural rhythms and patterns, weaving together the elements of microclimate, annual and...

Basic Units Of Cooperative Production Ubpcs

The large state farms were incompatible with this new paradigm. Agroecological farming simply does not work on a large farm. In industrial farming, a single technician can manage thousands of acres without intimate knowledge of the land he is overseeing. A few random observations will provide him with all the input he needs to write out instructions for the application of a particular fertilizer formula or pesticide to be applied with machinery over the entire area. However, in agroecological...

Sustainable Agriculture

The practices that are referred to as sustainable agriculture are numerous and vary depending on the local ecology. However, a number of general practices are more or less common to all sustainable agriculture systems. These are crop rotation, cover crops, no-till or low-till farming, soil management, water management, crop diversity, nutrient management, integrated pest management, and rotational grazing. While sustainable farming does not always engender organic farming, for the purposes of...

The Collapse of Agriculture

ODERN INDUSTRIAL agriculture is unsustainable. It has been pushed to the limit and is in danger of collapse. As we saw earlier in this book, we have already appropriated all of the prime agricultural land on this planet all that remains is a small percentage of marginal lands and those areas deserts, mountains, polar regions that are completely unsuitable. As a result, biological diversity the underpinning of life on this planet has been diminished nearly to the breaking point. Moreover, our...

The Cuban Miracle

Cuba's economy is now recovering from the loss of its closest trading partner. Cuban GNP has grown every year since 1995. There have been solid gains in employment, productivity, and exports. Fruit production has returned to its 1989 level (and even surpassed it in the case of plantains). Vegetables and tubers for domestic consumption have seen a prodigious increase in production. Daily food intake has climbed to 2,473 calories per person, a 33 percent increase over caloric intake in 1 994.23...

Introduction

HE GREEN REVOLUTION, which began in the 1960s, did not cure world hunger. But it did transform food production into an industry, and allow for the consolidation of small farms into what have become the large agribiz corporations. While the abundance of cheap food that resulted did nothing to alleviate world hunger, it did allow the human population to grow far in excess of the planet's carrying capacity. The Green Revolution achieved all of this by making food production extremely dependent on...

S

92-95 Shafranik, Yuri, 33 soil depletion global problem of, 1 1 - 1 3,1 04- 1 05 in North Korea, 44,46 from salinity, 16 solar energy, 4,5-6,13 solar technology, 69 Solari Venture Fund, 84-85, 89 Soviet Union, see Russia starvation, 42,44,49-50 sustainable agriculture see also agroecological farming organic agriculture permaculture) changes needed for achieving, 67-68 internet resources for, 87-99 practices and techniques of, 68-71 sustainable living ideas for promoting, 79-83 internet...

Eating Fossil Fuels

OLAR ENERGY is a renewable resource limited only by the inflow rate from the sun to the earth. Fossil fuels, on the other hand, are a stock-type resource that can be exploited at a nearly limitless rate. However, on a human time scale fossil fuels are nonrenewable. They represent a planetary energy deposit that we can draw from at any rate we wish, but which will eventually be exhausted without hope of renewal. The Green Revolution tapped into this energy deposit and used it to increase...

Resource Guide

The resources listed in this section, including internet links and email addresses, were up to date at the time this book was published. American Farmland Trust American Farmland Trust unites farmers, environmentalists, and policy-makers to save America's farmland. Website www.farmland.org CISA Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture A nonprofit organization working to support sustainable agriculture in Massachusetts and throughout the US. Website www.buylocalfood.com Farmer's Market...

Chapter Food Energy Nutrients

Buringh, Availability of Agricultural Land for Crop and Livestock Production, Food and Natural Resources, D. Pi-mentel and C. W. Hall eds , Academic Press, 1989. 2. P.M. Vitousek et al. Human Appropriation of the Products of Photosynthesis, BioscienceA, 1986. 3. David Pimental and Marcia Pimental, Land, Energy and Water The Constraints Governing Ideal US Population Size, NPG Forum Series, 1995. www.npg.org forum series land energy8rwater.htm 4. Henry H. Kindell and David Pimentel,...

The Green Revolution

At just the point when agriculture was running out of unex-ploited tillable lands, technological breakthroughs in the 1950s and 1960s allowed it to continue increasing production through the use of marginal and depleted lands. This transformation is known as the Green Revolution. The Green Revolution resulted in the industrialization of agriculture. Part of the advance resulted from new hybrid food plants, leading to more productive food crops. Between 1950 and 1984, as the Green Revolution...