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Sustainable Agricultural Systems I.Some Thoughts about Sustainability “The spiritual danger of not owning a farm is supposing that breakfast comes from.

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Presentation on theme: "Sustainable Agricultural Systems I.Some Thoughts about Sustainability “The spiritual danger of not owning a farm is supposing that breakfast comes from."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sustainable Agricultural Systems I.Some Thoughts about Sustainability “The spiritual danger of not owning a farm is supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery”Aldo Leopold “How can the growing Human Population produce and distribute enough food to meet everyone’s basic nutritional needs without degrading the soil, air, water and biodiversity that support all food production?”G. Tyler Miller “Global Food Production consumes more resources and causes more pollution and environmental damage than any other human activity.”G. Tyler Miller Farmers have one foot in the unpredictable natural world and one foot in the business world.” The Philadelphia Inquirer

2 II. General Background Information What is the Green Revolution? A huge _________ in world food production from 1950 to 2000! Food output has _______________ due to modern industrialized agriculture! How important is agriculture and food production? _____________________ is the # 1 business in Pa. And the U.S.! ______% of all U.S. jobs are employed in food production, processing and distribution! ______% of U.S. GNP! Less than ___% of the U.S. population actually work on the farm and are involved in food production!

3 What plants and animals feed the world? Estimate: There are 30,000 different, edible plant species in the world. Reality: ___ plant species and ____ animal species produce 90% of our food. 2/3 of all grain production come from 3 plant species- ______________, ______________ and ______________.

4 Most of the world’s meat production comes from 3 different animal species. _____________, _______________ and _______________.

5 III. The Environmental Side Effects of Agriculture 1. The negative side-effects from the use of pesticides. 2. Soil erosion, soil degradation and desertification. 3. Water pollution from soil erosion, fertilizers, manure and pesticides. 4. Loss of Biodiversity. Ex: Clearing forests and filling wetlands

6 What are the characteristics of Modern Industrialized Agriculture? (A.K.A. High-input Agriculture or monoculture) Huge farms that raise ________crops or _______ types of livestock! Ex: Corn in the Midwest Ex: Chicken Farms in Delaware Requires vast amounts of _____________ (fossil fuels)! 17% of U.S. Energy Consumption! 10 units of energy are used to put 1 energy unit of food on the table! Requires large amounts of _______ for irrigation! Ex: Farms in the deserts of Southern California Ex: Wheat fields in West Kansas Requires large amounts of synthetic, commercial ________________!

7 Requires large amounts of synthetic, commercial _____________. Livestock production occurs in huge ____________ ____________! Ex: Hogs in North Carolina Consumes ½ of world grain production! Most of the manure is not returned to the soil and becomes a pollution problem!

8 What are the characteristics of Low-input or Organic Agriculture? Agrodiversity or Polyculture Ex: Many __________ crops and livestock are raised on one farm! Natural Methods of fertilization are used! Ex: Crop ______________, Livestock __________________ and Green Manure like clover! Minimizes the need for ___________________. Maximizing organics in the soil improves water retention and minimizes irrigation. Year round plant cover reduces soil ____________________. Use natural methods of ________________ Control! Organic Farmers base their success on the condition of their soil, their most important resource. “Healthy Soil = Healthy Food = Healthy People!” The Rodale Institute

9 What is organically grown food? (FDA Approved) Food grown without the use of synthetic_______________, synthetic ____________________________, anti-biotics or growth hormones! Also, no biosolids/sludge, no irradiation, no genetic modification. U.S. Sales of organically grown food: $78 Million $4 Billion (less than 1% of U.S. farms) Projection of $14 Billion Consumer Choices are Powerful! Ex: Tomato production in Mexico versus Organically grown tomatoes.

10 What is the best way to control pests? What is a pest? Activity: What are your top 5 pests? A pest is any species that causes annoyance or ___________ that affects our lives. What is Integrated Pest Management? A step-wise approach to pest management that emphasizes prevention, physical and biological control and minimizes the use of synthetic ____________________. What are the 6 steps to IPM? 1. Identify the cause of the problem. 2. Learning about pest biology. 3. Scout and sample the pest population. 4. Determine when intervention is necessary.

11 5. Choose the best combination of tactics to use. 6. Evaluate your results. Is it working? What is the IPM Pyramid of Tactics?

12 Level One: Cultural Methods Level Two: Physical Methods

13 Level Three: Biological Methods Natural Predators or Parasites Genetic Methods Level Four: Conventional Chemical Methods

14 Can we increase world food production? Preserving Biodiversity is the key! We need to preserve _________ species to insure that we have the potential to unlock new ________________ sources in the future. Ex: Wild species of corn/Central America/Virus Resistance Ex: World Seed Banks Ex: Bees and natural pollinators Will people try new foods? Ex: 30,000 known edible _______________ species Organic Ag and Community Supported Ag promote crop diversity. Ex: Micro-livestock/insects Can we increase land cultivation? 33% of the world’s land is now farmed. What land is left is largely ____________________. Could we grow more food in abandoned ______________? Ex: Community Supported Farms in Phila.

15 Can we get more food from the world’s oceans? Most of the world’s major fisheries are in ____________ due to over ______________________ from industrial fishing. Solution: Marine sanctuaries for species recovery. Ex: New Zealand What about aquaculture or fish farming? Good news: Over _____% of the world’s fish production comes from aquaculture. Bad news: Current production methods are producing large amounts of water ___________ and hurting natural ecosystems. So, what can you and I do to help? Be a smart _____________ !

16 Is genetically engineering and genetically modified food the answer? What is genetically modified food (GMO’s)? Plant or animal species that have been ____________ engineered to increase _________________ production. Pros associated with the use of GMO’s Ex: Tomatoes that are ___________ resistant Ex: Plants that are resistant to pests/need __________ pesticides ex: (Bt corn) Ex: Round up resistant crops that reduce soil erosion. Ex: Salmon that grow _______________ Ex: _______________ resistant crops Ex: Plants with _______________ nutritional value Cons concerning the use of GMO’s Ex: Pests could develop immunity to GMO resistance Ex: Possible spread of ___________ to wildlife/Monarch Butterfly Ex: Genetic resistance spreading and creating super __________. Ex: Allergic _________________ to GMO’s

17 Final Notes 1.National Academy of Science Study: GMO’s are well tested by the EPA, FDA and the USDA. However: a) Coordination between each agency needs to improve. b) Monitoring of the environment to ensure that GMO’s do not damage natural ecosystems needs to improve. 2. A quandary for farmers! What should I plant? 3. U.N. Resolution that was heavily influenced by the LDC’s: “We want GMO’s to help to feed our growing population!”

18 Countries Producing GM Crops In the Year 2000

19 The Cartenega Protocol Lack of scientific evidence due to insufficient data shall not prevent a country from making a decision on the use of GMO’s. This is an international application of the Precautionary Principle that states that scientific uncertainty should not prevent action when the environment is threatened.

20 Major Issues of GM Crops Innocent creatures will be hurt by insecticides built into many GM crops Example: Monarch Butterflies Health risks Example: Food allergies “Super weeds” will arise as genes that give crops the ability to kill insect pests or withstand herbicides find their way into weeds GM crops will suddenly fail because insect pests will evolve tolerance to built-in insecticides and because weeds will evolve immunity to herbicides sprayed over fields of herbicide tolerant GM plants Developing countries who really need the food are not receiving it because biotechnology costs too much money


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