Feeding the world sustainable – agroecology v industrial agriculture

Feeding the world in a sustainable way is vehemently debated these days. In international fora the debate is not just about how to increase food production to feed the world’s growing population but also whether increasing food production is adressing the key issue of the relation between poverty and hunger. Increasing food production is not a neutral matter. Although some voices like to put it that way to sustain their claim that ‘facts’ show that their solution is the only right one. A solution is never neutral just because of the combination of technological and institutional means and the social and environmental impact it has. This is not new at all all. The impact of the (first) Green Revolution has been heavely disputed and this socalled neutralness of technology has been key issue in the massive techology and innovation studies of last decades. One cannot simply ignore the wider impact of technological fixes in the debate about how to provide the world’s population in a sustainable way.

In an editorial Eric Holt-Gimenez,  Executive Director of Food First / Institute for Food and Development Policy (www.foodfirst.org) in response to a recent study in Nature has added a contribution to this ongoing debate. He argues that there is a difference between between producing more food and ending hunger.  Read his editorial at on what kind of agriculture can best solve the problem of the growing number of hungry people: agroecology or conventional industrial agriculture at http://www.agriculturesnetwork.org/magazines/global/farmer-organisations/opinion-eric-holt-gimenez or at Nourshing the planet (the weblog of the Worldwatch Institute). One can also see video of a lecture on Food movements, agroecology, and the future of food and farming.

The Christensen Fund made an interesting infographics evaluating the major differences between agroecology and industrial agriculture:

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