What does sustainable agriculture truly mean….two experts square off on the true cause of food insecurity

What does “sustainable agriculture” truly mean—and what should it look like? The outlines of this long-running debate will be familiar to many. One side argues that modern, industrialized farming, for all its flaws, has mostly been a force for good, vastly improving yield, reducing food-borne illness, and saving the world from Malthusian disaster. Building upon this foundation, modern farming should be science-based and highly capitalized, employing the arsenal of innovations in chemistry, biotechnology, and satellite systems—from biotech seeds to laser-leveled fields. The other side rebuts that given the enormous environmental and social costs of intensified agriculture, a paradigm shift is needed: one that takes a whole-systems approach based on traditional knowledge, alternative agriculture, and local food system experience.
Thankfully, the two sides in Seed’s debate have gotten beyond these vast generalizations towards a more nuanced discussion.

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