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Chapter 14 - Food Production and Sustainable Agriculture - Biology

Chapter 14 - Food Production and Sustainable Agriculture - Biology


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Chapter 14 - Food Production and Sustainable Agriculture

Chapter 14 Nutrition and Society: Food Politics and Perspectives

Sustainability promotes nutrition today and protects natural resources for tomorrow.

Raising free-range chickens that feed out in the open is one example of a sustainable agricultural practice.

As discussed in previous chapters, sustainability is a word that’s often talked about in the realm of food and nutrition. The term relates to the goal of achieving a world that meets the needs of its present inhabitants while preserving resources for future generations. As awareness about sustainability has increased among the media and the public, both agricultural producers and consumers have made more of an effort to consider how the choices they make today will impact the planet tomorrow.

However, defining sustainability can be difficult because the term means different things to different groups. For most, sustainable agriculture can best be described as an umbrella term that encompasses food production and consumption practices that do not harm the environment, that do support agricultural communities, and that are healthy for the consumer. Sustainable Table. “Introduction to Sustainability.” Accessed October 10, 2011. http://www.sustainabletable.org/intro/. From factory farms to smaller-scale ranches and granges, sustainable farming practices are being implemented more and more as the long-term viability of the current production system has been called into question.

Yet, the concept of sustainability is not new to agricultural science, practice, or even policy. It has evolved throughout modern history as a way to achieve self-reliance. It is also a vehicle for maintaining rural communities and supporting the concept of conservation and protection of the land. Ecological Agriculture Projects. “A History of Sustainable Agriculture.” © 1990 Rod MacRae. http://eap.mcgill.ca/AASA_1.htm. In 1990, the US federal government defined sustainable agriculture in a piece of legislation known as the Farm Bill. The practice was described as an integrated system of plant and animal production that satisfies human needs for food, along with fiber for fabric and other uses. The Farm Bill further defines sustainable agriculture as a practice that enhances environmental quality and also the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends. Sustainable agriculture also makes the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources, sustains the economic viability of farm operations, and supports the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole. Gold, M.V. “Sustainable Agriculture: Definitions and Terms.” US Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library. Special Reference Briefs Series no. SRB 99-02 (September 1999, August 2007). http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/terms/srb9902.shtml#toc1.

In other words, the practice of sustainable agriculture strives to eschew conventional farming methods, including the cultivation of single crops and row crops continuously over many seasons, the dependency on agribusiness, and the rearing of livestock in concentrated, confined systems. Gold, M.V. “Sustainable Agriculture: Definitions and Terms.” US Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library. Special Reference Briefs Series no. SRB 99-02 (September 1999, August 2007). http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/terms/srb9902.shtml#toc1. Instead, sustainability includes a focus on biodiversity among both crops and livestock conservation and preservation to replenish the soil, air, and water animal welfare and fair treatment and wages for farm workers. Sustainable Table. “What Is Sustainable Agriculture?” Accessed October 10, 2011. http://www.sustainabletable.org/intro/whatis/. Sustainable agriculture also encourages the health of consumers by rejecting extensive use of pesticides and fertilizers and promoting the consumption of organic, locally produced food. Although many farmers and food companies work to implement these practices, some use the idea of sustainability to attract consumers without completely committing to the concept. “Greenwashing” is a derisive term (similar to “whitewashing”) for a corporation or industry falsely utilizing a proenvironmental image or message to expand its market base.

Sustainability depends not only on agricultural producers, but also on consumers. The average person can do a number of things to consume a more sustainable diet, from eating less meat to purchasing fruits and vegetables grown on nearby farms. For example, produce sold in the Midwest typically travels an average of more than fifteen hundred miles from farm to supermarket. However, increasing the consumption of more locally-grown produce by 10 percent would save thousands of gallons in fossil fuel each year. Heller, M. C., G. A. Keoleian. “US Food System Factsheet.” Center for Sustainable Systems, University of Michigan. CSS Factsheets, no. CSS01-06 (2001). http://www.css.snre.umich.edu/publication/css-factsheets-us-food-system.

You Decide

How will you adapt your lifestyle and dietary choices to help promote sustainable agricultural practices?

Some consumers are choosing to make smarter nutritional choices, eat healthier foods, and enjoy fresh, locally grown products. They read the labels on products in their local stores, make more home-cooked meals using whole-food ingredients, and pay attention to the decisions that legislators and other officials make regarding food production and consumption. Will you be one of them? How you can adjust your dietary selections to benefit not only your body and mind but also to help sustain the planet for future generations?

Video 14.1

Green Careers: Sustainable Agriculture

This video focuses on the role of a farm manager on a small farm that follows sustainable agricultural practices.


Global food production methods must change to minimise the impact on the environment and support the world&rsquos capacity to produce food in the future. As with other man-made activities, food production contributes to climate change, water scarcity, soil degradation and the destruction of biodiversity. 3,4

It is estimated that 25% of total global greenhouse gas emissions are directly caused by crop and animal production and forestry. 5 The crop and livestock sectors use 70% of freshwater resources and, together with forestry, occupy 60% of the Earth&rsquos land surface. 2

The level of environmental impact of food production relates to where and how the food is produced and the local availability of natural resources, such as water and soil. Often there are trade-offs between environmental factors, and to date there is no simple set of principles to determine if one food product is more environmentally sustainable than another.


Career Outlook for Specialty Agriculture Majors

Career opportunities abound for graduates with a bachelor’s in Specialty Agriculture.

Specialty Agriculture career fields include:

  • Agribusiness
  • Agritourism
  • Animal Production
  • Extension Education and Outreach
  • Food Science
  • Forestry
  • Horticulture / Crop Production
  • Nutrient Management
  • Soil Health / Conservationist

Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives

Edited by Paul Collinson, Iain Young, Lucy Antal, and Helen Macbeth

238 pages, 21 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN 978-1-78920-237-3 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (June 2019)

eISBN 978-1-78920-238-0 eBook


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Reviews

&ldquoContains a valuable and diverse set of essays that will help readers to understand the complexities of sustainable food and food systems and to advance cross-national and cross-cultural comparisons.&rdquo &bull Ellen Messer, Food Anthropologist

Description

Sustainability is one of the great problems facing food production today. Using cross-disciplinary perspectives from international scholars working in social, cultural and biological anthropology, ecology and environmental biology, this volume brings many new perspectives to the problems we face. Its cross-disciplinary framework of chapters with local, regional and continental perspectives provides a global outlook on sustainability issues. These case studies will appeal to those working in public sector agencies, NGOs, consultancies and other bodies focused on food security, human nutrition and environmental sustainability.

Paul Collinson is an Honorary Research Fellow and former lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at Oxford Brookes University. He is Chair of the UK section of the International Commission on the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition.

Iain Young is the Deputy Director of Studies in the University of Liverpool School of Medicine. He has a PhD in Muscle Physiology and Biomechanics from the University of Leeds. His research is broadly associated with sustainable food and agriculture, health and nutrition.

Lucy Antal is the NorthWest project manager for Feedback Global&rsquos Regional Food Economy, promoting a circular economy approach to food surplus through enterprise, education and advocacy.

Helen Macbeth is an Honorary Research Fellow and retired Principal Lecturer in Anthropology at Oxford Brookes University. She is past President of the International Commission on the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition.

Subject: Food & Nutrition Anthropology (General)

BISAC:
SOC055000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Agriculture & Food
TEC012000 TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING/Food Science/General
SOC002000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Anthropology/General

THEMA: JBCC4 RNFF JHM

Contents

Preface
Paul Collinson, Iain Young, Lucy Antal and Helen Macbeth

Chapter 1. Towards a Cross-disciplinary Approach to Food and Sustainability in the Twenty-first Century
Paul Collinson, Iain Young, Lucy Antal and Helen Macbeth

Chapter 2. Food Insecurity and Sustainability in Sub-Saharan Africa
Paul Collinson

Chapter 3. From Healthy to Sustainable: Transforming the Concept of the Mediterranean Diet from Health to Sustainability through Culture
F. Xavier Medina

Chapter 4. Cultures of Sustainability in the Anthropocene: Understanding Organic Food in Palermo
Giovanni Orlando

Chapter 5. Wild Phytogenetic Resources for Food in the Barranca del Rίo Santiago, Mexico: A First Approach to Sustainability
Martín Tena Meza, Rafael M. Navarro-Cerrillo, Ricardo Ávila Palafox, Raymundo Villavicencio García

Chapter 6. Farm Urban and Urban Aquaponics: Changing Perceptions in Classrooms and Communities
Iain Young

Chapter 7. &lsquoDig for Sustainability&rsquo in the Twenty-first Century: Allotments, Gardens and Television
Helen Macbeth

Chapter 8. Food and Sustainability in the Twenty-first Century: How Places in the UK are Working to Meet This Challenge
Lucy Antal

Chapter 9. Food and the Problem of Uncertainty &ndash Refugees and the Sense of Sustainability: The Case of Karen Farmers Returning to Their Villages From Refugee Camps Along the Thai Burmese Border
Peter Kaiser

Chapter 10. In Praise of a Fermented Bread: An Ethiopian Recipe for Frugal Sustainability
Valentina Peveri

Chapter 11. The Indian &lsquoMeat Dilemma&rsquo: Malnutrition, Social Hierarchy and Ecological Sustainability
Michaël Bruckert

Chapter 12. Eating Outside the Home: Food Practices as a Consequence of Economic Crisis in Spain
Maria Gracia-Arnaiz

Chapter 13. First Steps in Developing a Food Waste Management Strategy in a UK Higher Education Institution: The University of Liverpool Case Study
Nick Doran and Iain Young

Chapter 14. The Demand for Sustainable Ways of Dealing with Waste from Agriculture and Aquaculture
Iain Young


Cultivating Food Justice : Race, Class, and Sustainability

Alison Hope Alkon is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of the Pacific.

Julian Agyeman is Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University. He is the coauthor of Sharing Cities and the coeditor of Cultivating Food Justice and Food Trucks, Cultural Identity, and Social Justice, each published by the MIT Press.

Documents how racial and social inequalities are built into our food system, and how communities are creating environmentally sustainable and socially just alternatives.

Popularized by such best-selling authors as Michael Pollan, Barbara Kingsolver, and Eric Schlosser, a growing food movement urges us to support sustainable agriculture by eating fresh food produced on local family farms. But many low-income neighborhoods and communities of color have been systematically deprived of access to healthy and sustainable food. These communities have been actively prevented from producing their own food and often live in “food deserts” where fast food is more common than fresh food. Cultivating Food Justice describes their efforts to envision and create environmentally sustainable and socially just alternatives to the food system.

Bringing together insights from studies of environmental justice, sustainable agriculture, critical race theory, and food studies, Cultivating Food Justice highlights the ways race and class inequalities permeate the food system, from production to distribution to consumption. The studies offered in the book explore a range of important issues, including agricultural and land use policies that systematically disadvantage Native American, African American, Latino/a, and Asian American farmers and farmworkers access problems in both urban and rural areas efforts to create sustainable local food systems in low-income communities of color and future directions for the food justice movement. These diverse accounts of the relationships among food, environmentalism, justice, race, and identity will help guide efforts to achieve a just and sustainable agriculture.


Advances in Cyanobacterial Biology

Advances in Cyanobacterial Biology presents the novel, practical, and theoretical aspects of cyanobacteria, providing a better understanding of basic and advanced biotechnological application in the field of sustainable agriculture. Chapters have been designed to deal with the different aspects of cyanobacteria including their role in the evolution of life, cyanobacterial diversity and classification, isolation, and characterization of cyanobacteria through biochemical and molecular approaches, phylogeny and biogeography of cyanobacteria, symbiosis, Cyanobacterial photosynthesis, morphological and physiological adaptation to abiotic stresses, stress-tolerant cyanobacterium, biological nitrogen fixation. Other topics include circadian rhythms, genetics and molecular biology of abiotic stress responses, application of cyanobacteria and cyanobacterial mats in wastewater treatments, use as a source of novel stress-responsive genes for development of stress tolerance and as a source of biofuels, industrial application, as biofertilizer, cyanobacterial blooms, use in Nano-technology and nanomedicines as well as potential applications.

This book will be important for academics and researchers working in cyanobacteria, cyanobacterial environmental biology, cyanobacterial agriculture and cyanobacterial molecular biologists.

Advances in Cyanobacterial Biology presents the novel, practical, and theoretical aspects of cyanobacteria, providing a better understanding of basic and advanced biotechnological application in the field of sustainable agriculture. Chapters have been designed to deal with the different aspects of cyanobacteria including their role in the evolution of life, cyanobacterial diversity and classification, isolation, and characterization of cyanobacteria through biochemical and molecular approaches, phylogeny and biogeography of cyanobacteria, symbiosis, Cyanobacterial photosynthesis, morphological and physiological adaptation to abiotic stresses, stress-tolerant cyanobacterium, biological nitrogen fixation. Other topics include circadian rhythms, genetics and molecular biology of abiotic stress responses, application of cyanobacteria and cyanobacterial mats in wastewater treatments, use as a source of novel stress-responsive genes for development of stress tolerance and as a source of biofuels, industrial application, as biofertilizer, cyanobacterial blooms, use in Nano-technology and nanomedicines as well as potential applications.

This book will be important for academics and researchers working in cyanobacteria, cyanobacterial environmental biology, cyanobacterial agriculture and cyanobacterial molecular biologists.


Ecosystem Services and Their Importance For Agriculture

Ecosystem services are defined as “the benefits provided by ecosystems to humans”. Many key ecosystem services provided by biodiversity, such as nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, pest regulation and pollination, sustain agricultural productivity. Promoting the healthy functioning of ecosystems ensures the resilience of agriculture as it intensifies to meet growing demands for food production. Climate change and other stresses have the potential to make major impacts on key functions, such as pollination and pest regulation services. Learning to strengthen the ecosystem linkages that promote resilience and to mitigate the forces that impede the ability of agro-ecosystems to deliver goods and services remains an important challenge.

Adapted from: Ecosystems and human well-being: a framework for assessment. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2003. World Resources Institute.


References

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations World Agriculture: Towards 2015/2030 (FAO, 2002).

Herrero, M. et al. Science 327, 822–825 (2010).

Bocquier, F. &amp Gonzalez-Garcia, E. Animal 4, 1258–1273 (2010).

Grace, D. et al. Mapping of Poverty and Likely Zoonoses Hotspots (International Livestock Research Institute, 2012).

Kenyon, F. et al. Vet. Parasitol. 164, 3–11 (2009).

Lee, M. R. F., Tweed, J. K. S., Minchin, F. R. &amp Winters, A. L. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol. 149, 250–264 (2009).

Bickell, S. L., Durmic, Z., Blache, D., Vercoe, P. E. &amp Martin, G. B. in Updates on Ruminant Production and Medicine Proc. 26th World Buiatrics Congress, Santiago, Chile (eds Wittwer, F. et al.) 317–325 (Andros Impresores, 2010).

Smith, J. et al. Anim. Front. 3, 6–13 (2013).

Otte, J. et al. Livestock Sector Development for Poverty Reduction: An Economic and Policy Perspective — Livestock's Many Virtues (FAO, 2012).

Garnett, T. Environ. Sci. Policy 12, 491–503 (2009).


Chapter 14 - Food Production and Sustainable Agriculture - Biology

SDG2 focuses on ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture.

In particular, its targets aims to:

end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round by 2030 (2.1)

end all forms of malnutrition by 2030, including achieving, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons (2.2.)

double,by 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment (2.3)

ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality (2.4)

by 2020, maintain the genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species, including through soundly managed and diversified seed and plant banks at the national, regional and international levels, and promote access to and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, as internationally agreed (2.5)

The alphabetical goals aim to: increase investment in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension services, technology development and plant and livestock gene banks , correct and prevent trade restrictions and distortions in world agricultural markets as well as adopt measures to ensure the proper functioning of food commodity markets and their derivatives and facilitate timely access to market information, including on food reserves, in order to help limit extreme food price volatility.

CSD-17 negotiated policy recommendations for most of the issues under discussion.

Delegates adopted by acclamation a “Text as prepared by the Chair,” including all negotiated text as well as proposed language from the Chair for policy options and practical measures to expedite implementation of the issues under the cluster.

The text included rising food prices, ongoing negotiations in the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the Doha Development Round, and an international focus on the climate change negotiations under the auspices of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

CSD-16 and CSD-17 focused on the thematic cluster of agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and Africa.

As far as CSD-16 is concerned, on this occasion delegates were called to review implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for Implementation and the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States and the CSD-13 decisions on water and sanitation.

A High-level Segment was also held from 14-16 May, with nearly 60 ministers in attendance.

As decided at UNGASS, the economic, sectoral and cross-sectoral themes under consideration for CSD-8 were sustainable agriculture and land management, integrating planning and management of land resources and financial resources, trade and investment and economic growth.

CSD-6 to CSD-9 annually gathered at the UN Headquarters for spring meetings.

Discussions at each session opened with multi-stakeholder dialogues, in which major groups were invited to make opening statements on selected themes followed by a dialogue with government representatives.

MDG 1 aims at eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.

Its three targets respectively read:

halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1.25 a day (1.A),

achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people (1.B),

halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger (1.C).

The Summit aimed to reaffirm global commitment, at the highest political level, to eliminate hunger and malnutrition, and to achieve sustainable food security for all.

Thank to its high visibility, the Summit contributed to raise further awareness on agriculture capacity, food insecurity and malnutrition among decision-makers in the public and private sectors, in the media and with the public at large.

It also set the political, conceptual and technical blueprint for an ongoing effort to eradicate hunger at global level with the target of reducing by half the number of undernourished people by no later than the year 2015.

The Rome Declaration defined seven commitments as main pillars for the achievement of sustainable food security for all whereas its Plan of Action identified the objectives and actions relevant for practical implementation of these seven commitments.

Agenda 21 – Chapter 14 is devoted to the promotion of sustainable agriculture and rural development
and the need for agricultural to satisfy the demands for food from a growing population.

It acknowledges that major adjustments are needed in agricultural, environmental and macroeconomic policy, at both national and international levels, in developed as well as developing countries, to create the conditions for sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD).

It also identifies as priority the need for maintaining and improving the capacity of the higher potential agricultural lands to support an expanding population.

    It is estimated that in 2015 still roughly 2.8 billion people worldwide lack access to modern energy services and more than 1 billion do not have access to electricity. For the most part this grave development burden falls on rural areas, where a lack of access to modern energy services negatively affects productivity, educational attainment and even health and ultimately exacerbates the poverty trap.

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 of the Post-2015 Development Agenda calls to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”. In particular, target 2.a devotes a specific attention to “Increase investment, including through enhanced international cooperation, in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension services, technology development and plant and livestock gene banks in order to enhance agricultural productive capacity in developing countries, in particular least developed countries".

Promoting sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD) is the subject of chapter 14 of Agenda 21.

The major objective of SARD is to increase food production in a sustainable way and enhance food security. This will involve education initiatives, utilization of economic incentives and the development of appropriate and new technologies, thus ensuring stable supplies of nutritionally adequate food, access to those supplies by vulnerable groups, and production for markets employment and income generation to alleviate poverty and natural resource management and environmental protection.

The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) first reviewed Rural Development at its third session in 1995, when it noted with concern that, even though some progress had been reported, disappointment is widely expressed at the slow progress in moving towards sustainable agriculture and rural development in many countries.

Sustainable agriculture was also considered at the five-year review of implementation of Agenda 21 in 1997, at which time Governments were urged to attach high priority to implementing the commitments agreed at the World Food Summit, especially the call for at least halving the number of undernourished people in the world by the year 2015. This goal was reinforced by the Millennium Declaration adopted by Heads of State and Government in September 2000, which resolved to halve by 2015 the proportion of the world's people who suffer from hunger.

In accordance with its multi-year programme of work, agriculture with a rural development perspective was a major focus of CSD-8 in 2000, along with integrated planning and management of land resources as the sectoral theme. The supporting documentation and the discussions highlighted the linkages between the economic, social and environmental objectives of sustainable agriculture. The Commission adopted decision 8/4 which identified 12 priorities for action. It reaffirmed that the major objectives of SARD are to increase food production and enhance food security in an environmentally sound way so as to contribute to sustainable natural resource management. It noted that food security-although a policy priority for all countries-remains an unfulfilled goal. It also noted that agriculture has a special and important place in society and helps to sustain rural life and land.

Rural Development was included as one of the thematic areas along with Agriculture, Land, Drought, Desertification and Africa in the third implementation cycle CSD-16/CSD-17.

A growing emphasis is being placed on the Nexus approach to sustainable rural development, seeking to realize synergies from the links between development factors such as energy, health, education, water, food, gender, and economic growth.


Watch the video: IB ESS Revision Soil u0026 Food Production Systems (December 2022).