Crisis and Opportunity: Sustainability in American Agriculture

Overview

With the decline of family farms and rural communities and the rise of corporate farming and the resulting environmental degradation, American agriculture is in crisis. But this crisis offers the opportunity to rethink agriculture in sustainable terms. Here one of the most eloquent and influential proponents of sustainable agriculture explains what this means. These engaging essays describe what sustainable agriculture is, why it began, and how it can succeed. Together they constitute a clear and compelling ...
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Overview

With the decline of family farms and rural communities and the rise of corporate farming and the resulting environmental degradation, American agriculture is in crisis. But this crisis offers the opportunity to rethink agriculture in sustainable terms. Here one of the most eloquent and influential proponents of sustainable agriculture explains what this means. These engaging essays describe what sustainable agriculture is, why it began, and how it can succeed. Together they constitute a clear and compelling vision for rebalancing the ecological, economic, and social dimensions of agriculture to meet the needs of the present without compromising the future. In Crisis and Opportunity, John E. Ikerd outlines the consequences of agricultural industrialization, then details the methods that can restore economic viability, ecological soundness, and social responsibility to our agricultural system and thus ensure sustainable agriculture as the foundation of a sustainable food system and a sustainable society.
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Editorial Reviews

Choice

"Clearly defines the crisis and opportunities present today in American agriculture."

—D. L. King, Choice

Fred Magdoff

“For those who want to understand what sustainable agriculture is all about, Crisis and Opportunity is a major tour de force. Ikerd’s book is a profound source of information, perspective, and inspiration.”

—Fred Magdoff, professor emeritus of soils at the University of Vermont and coeditor of Hungry for Profit

Larry Yee

“An amazing collection of essays that reveal some of the clearest thinking on the sustainability of food and farming systems. This is a clarion call to come to our senses about our own future health and well-being as well as that of our communities and the planet that sustains us.”

—Larry Yee, director of the University of California Cooperative Extension, Ventura County, and co-chair and cofounder of the Association of Family Farms

James E. Horne

“Ikerd counters the efficiency model of industrial agriculture and presents a more rational path that leads to opportunity in agriculture and a more civil society. The book is well written and easy to read, it challenges us to a higher order of thinking.”

—James E. Horne, president of Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture Inc. and coauthor of The Next Green Revolution

Fred Magdoff
“For those who want to understand what sustainable agriculture is all about, Crisis and Opportunity is a major tour de force. Ikerd’s book is a profound source of information, perspective, and inspiration.”—Fred Magdoff, professor emeritus of soils at the University of Vermont and coeditor of Hungry for Profit
Larry Yee
“An amazing collection of essays that reveal some of the clearest thinking on the sustainability of food and farming systems. This is a clarion call to come to our senses about our own future health and well-being as well as that of our communities and the planet that sustains us.”—Larry Yee, director of the University of California Cooperative Extension, Ventura County, and co-chair and cofounder of the Association of Family Farms
James E. Horne
“Ikerd counters the efficiency model of industrial agriculture and presents a more rational path that leads to opportunity in agriculture and a more civil society. The book is well written and easy to read, it challenges us to a higher order of thinking.”—James E. Horne, president of Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture Inc. and coauthor of The Next Green Revolution
Choice - D. L. King
"Clearly defines the crisis and opportunities present today in American agriculture."—D. L. King, Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803211421
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2008
  • Series: Our Sustainable Future Series
  • Pages: 342
  • Product dimensions: 5.54 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

John E. Ikerd is professor emeritus of agricultural economics at the University of Missouri. He is the author of Sustainable Capitalism, A Return to Common Sense, and Small Farms are Real Farms.
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Table of Contents

Preface     vii
Acknowledgments     xi
Crisis and Opportunity in American Agriculture     1
The Industrialization of American Agriculture     21
Why We Should Stop Promoting Industrial Agriculture     23
Corporate Agriculture and Family Farms     33
The Corporatization of America     45
New Hope for the Future of Farming     61
Rediscovering Agriculture and New Hope for Farming     63
Farming in Harmony with Nature and Society     73
Reclaiming the Sacred in Food and Farming     81
Principles of Sustainable Agriculture     93
Do We Really Need to Define Sustainable Agriculture?     95
Foundational Principles of Soils, Stewardship, and Sustainability     103
Economics of Sustainable Farming     122
The Renaissance of Rural America     140
The New American Farmer     157
Walking the Talk of Sustainable Agriculture     159
Survival Strategies for Small Farms     177
Marketing in the Niches for Sustainability     193
Local Organic Farms Save Farmland and Communities     207
The Triple Bottom Line of Farming in the Future     224
Creating Sustainable Food and Farming Systems     241
The Real Costs of Globalization     243
Redirecting Government Policies for Agricultural Sustainability     260
The New American Food System     274
American Agriculture After Fossil Energy     293
Notes     313
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