Can Ecological Agriculture Feed Nine Billion People?
Something is wrong with our agricultural and food systems.1 Despite great progress in increasing productivity in the last century, hundreds of millions of people remain hungry and malnourished. Further hundreds of millions eat too much, or consume the wrong sorts of food, and it is making them ill. The health of the environment suffers too, as degradation of soil and water seems to accompany many of the agricultural systems we have developed in recent years. Can nothing be done, or is it time for the expansion of an agriculture founded more on ecological principles and in harmony with people, their societies, and cultures? As we advance into the second decade of the twenty-first century, we have some critical choices. Humans have been farming for some 600 generations, and for most of that time the production and consumption of food has been intimately connected to cultural and social systems. Yet, over the last two or three generations, we have developed hugely successful agricultural