I Agree with Mark Bittman: We Can Feed the World through Sustainable Agriculture


Earlier this week in the Opinionator blog of the New York Times, columnist and author Mark Bittman built a good argument for how to feed the world through sustainable agriculture.

Bittman claims, “there is good news: increasing numbers of scientists, policy panels and experts (not hippies!) are suggesting that agricultural practices pretty close to organic — perhaps best called ‘sustainable’ — can feed more poor people sooner, begin to repair the damage caused by industrial production and, in the long-term, become the norm.”

He cites a report from Olivier de Schutter, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on the Right to Food, that suggests “agriculture should be fundamentally redirected towards modes of production that are more environmentally sustainable and socially just.” (Read the press release for the quick summary version.)

And he cites experts from the U.N Food and Agriculture Organization, as well as the University of Michigan, who believe that sustainable agriculture is a system more people should choose.

He sums up his article with this quote from de Schutter: “We have to move towards sustainable production. We cannot depend on the gas fields of Russia or the oil fields of the Middle East, and we cannot continue to destroy the environment and accelerate climate change. We must adopt the most efficient farming techniques available.”

Those techniques are sustainable, not industrial.

With a recent special report in The Economist on the world’s population explosion and National Geographic highlighting the topic in a special series this year, the problem of how to feed 9 billion people is real. Food prices are at an all-time high. It is time for a change that works.

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