What did we get from the last lecture? • Agriculture Introduction • Industrial contrasted with traditonal • Why and What people eat • Contrasting Diets • How has production kept pace? • What are the impacts of agriculture?
Problems of industrial agriculture: Narrow genetic base Not just on a species level but within a species Genetic Uniformity of Major Crops Loss of land races and traditional varieties Soil fertility decline Continuous cropping, salinization, and desertification Erosion and loss of top soil Air pollution At every step of the way Water pollution Sediment and Inorganic Plant fertilizers
How to reduce the impact in the U. S. Reducing meat consumption: environmental, economic, ethical and health benefits Reconnecting with your food Don’t be part of the California potluck syndrome Realize where your food comes from Read the labels and ask questions The infamous “Think Global and Eat Local”
Reducing the impact of agriculture and continuing to feed the worlds population Reducing meat consumption Eating lower on the food chain Reducing processed food consumption Eating lower on the supply chain Reconnect with your food: Learn what is seasonal and what is not Read your labels and ask questions Even if you can’t kill it, you ought to be able to de-bone it
Other steps to reduce the impact of agriculture: • Shift to Sustainable Agriculture • 1. Soil Conservation • Alternative Tillage regimes, Cover crops, Contour plowing and Terracing • 2. Preservation of the diversity that remains • Protecting wild species and maintaining seed banks • Social Justice Issue • 2. Considering alternative staples • The Land Institute and Rodale Institute Perennial and Alternative crops • Keeping an open mind • 3. Changing governmental policies: The legacy of subsidies
Other steps to reduce the impact of agriculture (continued) • 4. Support of alternative cropping practices • Organic Production: • Pesticide review: Advantages and Disadvantages of pesticides • Alternatives to pesticides • National Standards and Definitions: • http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/ • Will this be enough? Hard to say but for some crops, can be a viable alternative: http://agronomy.ucdavis.edu/safs/ • http://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/ • Integrated Pest Management
Shift to more sustainable agriculture in the developed world Break slightly from text: Sustainable and Self sufficient Developed: shift to lower impact, reduced waste and educated public Developing: shift from dependence on outside aid to self sufficiency and beyond How can this be done?
Other steps to reduce the impact of agriculture (continued) • 5. Continued improvement of staple crops • Focused now on improving nutritional quality • Genetically modified organisms • What is plant breeding and animal husbandry? • Biotechnology is a tool to speed this process up • Scientist should suck it up and start doing a better job to address public concerns as well as to avoid making foolish mistakes: • Contrasting genetically modified with transgenic