Innovations can make food production much more climate friendly

Courtesy of a new report from Worldwatch Institute, GallonDaily can begin a new year with a significantly more optimistic outlook regarding food production and climate change. The just published report, entitled Innovations in Sustainable Agriculture: Supporting Climate-Friendly Food Production, concludes that:

By tapping into the multitude of climate-friendly farming practices that already exist, agriculture can continue to supply food for the human population, as well as income for the world’s 1.3 billion farmers. Climate-friendly agriculture also can play a critical role in the global reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the mitigation of climate change.

In 38 pages, authors Danielle Nierenberg and Laura Reynolds summarize the state of the world’s food system, the environmental impacts, and the innovations that can improve supply with much less environmental harm. Some of the key environmental impacts include:

  • Land use
  • Water use
  • Deforestation
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Chemical use, and
  • Methane

Some of the sustainable agricultural practices described in the report include:

  • Building Soil Fertility
  • Agroforestry
  • Grass Farming
  • Urban Farming
  • Green Manure/Cover Cropping
  • Improving Water Conservation and Recycling
  • Preserving Biodiversity and Indigenous Breeds

For each the report describes the technique, the results, and the environmental and social benefits. For example, for those interested in the question of whether or not meat can be part of a more sustainable diet, the report presents a strong argument in favour of maintaining livestock as part of a food system that is economically viable as well as environmentally and socially responsible. Even so, the report does propose that “Policymakers need to find ways to encourage production of meat and other animal products in environmentally and socially sustainable ways.”

A summary of the report and a free full text download, as well as an order form for the print version, are available at http://www.worldwatch.org/bookstore/publication/worldwatch-report-188-innovations-sustainable-agriculture-supporting-climate-f

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