The Future of Agriculture

by Catherine Haug

Across our nation, small family farms have been disappearing, either to subdivisions as in our valley, or by merging into large corporate farms. These large farms do not use the natural, organic methods of our grandparents. Instead, they use GMO seeds, chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, and copious irrigation, all of which lead to depleted soil and toxic ground water.

But what if we could reverse this trend? How could we enable these large farms to revert to small, organic farms and at the same time make the land more productive while ensuring healthy soil and clean water for succeeding generations?

There are signs this is already happening, as farmers face a future world with scarce water, energy shortages, and a warmed climate. National Radio Project’s piece Small Farms, Big Future provides an inspiring look into the future of agriculture. On their website, you can listen to the article online, or download an mp3 audio version. From their introduction:

Climate change is upon us. The world’s water supply is shrinking. And increasingly, local, organic food is becoming more than just a fad or a luxury for wealthy foodies. On this edition, we go to California, America’s leading producer of fruits, vegetables, and dairy, to see some examples of how the nation’s agricultural industry is slowly but surely moving away from factory farms.

These examples include:

  • Dry farming as alternative to irrigation in a water-scarce future;
  • Waste-free dairy where methane from cattle waste is used to generate electricity and heat, which in turn run the dairy’s cheese-making plant; and
  • Turning farm workers into Organic small-farm owners.

Check it out: Small Farms, Big Future

    Comments are closed.