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Alternative agriculture in an energy- and resource-depleting future

  • Frederick Kirschenmann (a1) (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 30 March 2010

Industrial principles of specialization, simplification and concentration began to be applied to agriculture after the Second World War with positive production results. But it is now widely recognized that this agriculture and food system faces daunting challenges in the decades ahead, including increased human population growth, natural resource depletion, ecological degradation, climate change and escalating energy costs. These challenges have refocused the attention of agriculturalists and food scientists on the question of how we can continue to feed the human species. But these challenges also provide opportunities to rethink and redesign our food system. Agriculturalists are recognizing that resilience is at least as important to food security as maximum production, and consumer concerns provide us with unprecedented opportunities for farmers and consumers to come together as ‘food citizens’ to determine appropriate changes in our food system. To that end it is important to examine the various production systems and infrastructures in an effort to select the most viable options for long-term sustainability.

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0044J. Pretty 2009. Can ecological agriculture feed nine billion people? Monthly Review 61(6). Available at Web site (verified 12 March 2010).

01111F. Kirschenmann 2007. Potential for a new generation of biodiversity in agroecosystems of the future. Agronomy Journal 99(2):375.

01515J. Kloppenburg Jr, J. Hendrickson , and G.W. Stevenson 1996. Coming into the foodshed. Agriculture and Human Values 13(3):3342.

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Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems
  • ISSN: 1742-1705
  • EISSN: 1742-1713
  • URL: /core/journals/renewable-agriculture-and-food-systems
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