Agriculture

Agriculture consumes over 70% of the world’s increasingly scarce freshwater supply and while there is currently enough food for our numbers, it is inequitably distributed and in some regions prohibitively priced.

Agriculture: The cultivation of plants and animals for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture is the foundation of all civilizations, allowing the founding of permanent, non-nomadic communities where farming with domesticated species created food surpluses that could support growing numbers of people who made their living in non-agricultural occupations.

Food Security: Includes both physical and economic access to nutritious food that meets an individual’s dietary needs to maintain a healthy and active life (World Health Organization).

Agrobiodiversity: A subset of biodiversity that pertains to the genetic resources for food and agriculture that are the result of natural selection processes used by farmers, herders and fisher folk over millennia. It includes harvested crop varieties, livestock breeds, and non-domesticated resources as well as non-harvested species such as pollinators that support food provision. Agrobiodiversity is also referred to as agricultural biodiversity. (FAO)

Biosolids: Nutrient-rich organic materials resulting from the treatment of sewage. These residuals when treated and processed can be used as a fertilizer to improve soil productivity. (US EPA)

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): Products that are produced through techniques in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally

Agriculture: The cultivation of plants and animals for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture is the foundation of all civilizations, allowing the founding of permanent, non-nomadic communities where farming with domesticated species created food surpluses that could support growing numbers of people who made their living in non-agricultural occupations.

Food Security: Includes both physical and economic access to nutritious food that meets an individual’s dietary needs to maintain a healthy and active life (World Health Organization).

Agrobiodiversity: A subset of biodiversity that pertains to the genetic resources for food and agriculture that are the result of natural selection processes used by farmers, herders and fisher folk over millennia. It includes harvested crop varieties, livestock breeds, and non-domesticated resources as well as non-harvested species such as pollinators that support food provision. Agrobiodiversity is also referred to as agricultural biodiversity. (FAO)

Biosolids: Nutrient-rich organic materials resulting from the treatment of sewage. These residuals when treated and processed can be used as a fertilizer to improve soil productivity. (US EPA)

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): Products that are produced through techniques in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally

Critically important strategies for improving food security include: reducing waste and spoilage losses, irrigating more arable land more effectively, improving fertilization techniques, along with climate change adaptation and mitigation techniques — like developing crops which are more drought- and disease-resistant, and demand less water.

 

SUSTAINABILITY STRATEGIES

Non-point Source Pollution Best Management Practices: What are BMPs?

Best Management Practices to Minimize Nonpoint-Source Pollution in Agriculture (5 pages)

 

James River – Richmond and Tributaries Bacteria TMDL Implementation Plan Overview
Powerpoint (47 slides)

Rivanna Rivers Healthy Waters Project p. 3-17
An overview of a healthy waters strategy (14 pages)

Vermont farmer holds key to sustainable food system
Producing food, eliminating the cost of feed, generating compost and creating topsoil
(2 pages)

Gotham Greens
Technologically advanced urban greenhouses in Chicago and New York City

Tyson Launches Venture Capital Fund
Major food providers invest in non meat-based protein source research (1 page)

Farmer part of “Green Revolution” of crop production
Caroline County farmer increasing yields by using cover crops (1 page)

Earth’s human population is growing rapidly. To keep up, a 2% increase in food production will be required every year. Unfortunately, hundreds of millions of people face food shortages now. A dangerous combination of problems is at work: additional agricultural land is scarce; existing lands are degraded; overgrazing and climate change causes desertification; and crop diversity is lost. These factors increase waste, pests’ resistance to pesticides, and rapidly raise foods’ production and transportation costs. All of which leads to “food insecurity,” in turn contributing to political insecurity and humans’ poorer health.

Throughout the world, virtually all usable land is already in production (94% in India). High utilization rates lead to long-term soil degradation through nutrient depletion and erosion, undermining agricultural productivity.

Seventy-four percent of agricultural land in Central America, 65% in Africa and 38% in Asia is classified as degraded. This degradation is predicted to reduce crop yields by 25% to 50% in Argentina, Uruguay and Kenya by 2032. Other areas face similar probable declines.

Climate change effects – weather extremes, large-scale flooding, water table evaporation, non-native pests’ migration – destabilize and create more agricultural challenges.