Can We Develop a Sustainable Agriculture for the 21st Century Given the Challenges We Face _________ - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Can We Develop a Sustainable Agriculture for the 21st Century Given the Challenges We Face _________


California has now surpassed the precipitation levels. of its most notorious winters. ... Maya Nut tortillas are much more nutritious and delicious than those ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Can We Develop a Sustainable Agriculture for the 21st Century Given the Challenges We Face _________

Can We Develop a Sustainable Agriculture for
the 21st Century Given the Challenges We Face?
________________________________________ Presente
d at The Bentley Lecture in Sustainable
Agriculture University of Alberta October 13,
2005 Presented by Fred Kirschenmann,
Director Leopold Center for Sustainable
Agriculture Iowa State University leopold1_at_iastate
What is sustainable agriculture? _________________
__________________________ A simple
definitionAn agriculture that indefinitely
maintains productivity.
What does it take to maintain
productivity? ____________________________________
_______ . . . If agriculture is to remain
productive it must preserve the land, and the
fertility and ecological health of the land
the land, that is, must be used well. A further
requirement, therefore, is that if the land
is to be used well, the people who use it
must know it well, must be highly motivated
to use it well, must know how to use it well,
must have time to use it well, and must be
able to afford to use it well. Wendell
Berry, Nature as Measure 1990
For agriculture to be sustainable four types of
capital are required __________________________
__________________ 1. Ecological capital.
(land must be used well? ecological
health) 2. Human capital. (people who use
the land must know it well) 3.
Social capital. (must be highly motivated to
use it well) 4. Financial capital.
(must be able to afford to use it
  • Modern agricultures claim to sustainability
  • ___________________________________________
  • Production efficiency can best be achieved
  • specialization, simplification and
  • Therapeutic intervention is the most effective
    way to
  • control undesirable events.
  • Technological innovation will be able to
    overcome all
  • production challenges.
  • Control management is effective.

  • Principal challenges facing agriculture
  • in the decades ahead
  • __________________________________________
  • A. Fossil fuel depletion
  • B. Environmental degradation
  • C. Climate change
  • D. Bankrupt farm economy

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  • United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
    Synthesis Report, 2005
  • __________________________________________________
  • Developed by 1,360 leading scientists from 95
  • Core Finding Over the last half century,
    humans have
  • polluted or over-exploited two-thirds of the
  • ecological systems on which life depends,
  • increasing the potential for unprecedented
    and abrupt
  • ecological collapses. Approximately 60 of
  • ecosystem services evaluated are being
    degraded or used
  • unsustainably. Most ecosystem changes were
    the direct
  • or indirect result of changes made to meet
  • demands for ecosystem services ? in
    particular the
  • growing demands for food, water, timber,
    fiber and fuel.

  • Millennium Report continued . . .
  • __________________________________________________
  • Solutions will be complex There is no simple
    fix to
  • these problems since they arise from the
    interaction of
  • many recognized challenges including climate
  • biodiversity loss and land degradation.
    Furthermore, the
  • loss of species and genetic diversity
    decreases the
  • resilience of ecosystems ? the level of
    disturbance that
  • an ecosystem can undergo without crossing a
    threshold to
  • a different structure or functioning.
  • More challenges on the way At the same time,
    it is
  • anticipated that during the next 50 years
    demand for food
  • crops will grow by 70-85 and demand for
    water by
  • between 30 and 85.

_______________________________________________ C
limate in the western United States in the past
year has been a study of contrasts. The
moisture deficit in Billings and southwestern
Montana is equivalent to missing over 1.5
years worth of precipitation in the past 7
years. The drought in southwest Montana is
more severe and prolonged than the drought that
caused the dust bowl of the 1930s. Meanwhile,
Las Vegas just had its wettest winter on
record. Soggy California has now surpassed
the precipitation levels of its most
notorious winters. Whats going on
here? ?Evelyn Boswell, Odd Weather in the
West Draws Scientists to Chico! Agri-News,
March 11, 2005
_______________________________________________ L
ast March was the warmest and driest March in 110
years for the 11 contiguous Western states .
. . October, on the other hand, was an
all-time standout wet month in the Southwest.
The atmospheric circulation that has
produced this precipitation looks almost nothing
like an El Nino circulation pattern. This
has been a major puzzle. ?Kelly Redmond,
western region climatologist
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Source 2002 Census of Agriculture
The declining middle
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For How Long?
Source Richardo J. Salvador, Iowa State
University, Ames, 2004 (based on Ernest Schusky,
Culture and Agriculture)
How Shall We Now Approach the
Future? __________________________________________
__ Is it possible to replace current
technologies based on fossil energy with proper
interactions operating between crop/livestock and
other organisms to enhance agricultural
production? If the answer is yes, then modern
agriculture, which uses only the simplest
biotic responses, can be transformed into an
alternative system of agriculture, in which the
use of complex biotic interactions becomes the
key technology. --Masae Shiyomi and Hiroshi
Koizumi, Structure and Function in
Agroecosystem Design and Management. 2001
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_______ The concept is to produce a variety of
products within a limited space to achieve
maximum overall productivity. But this does not
consist of merely assembling all of
the Components it consists of allowing all
components to influence each other positively in
a relationship of Symbiotic production.
Takao Furuno, 2001. The Power of Duck
The Equilibrium FundMaya Nut Program
  • Mission
  • To Find Balance Between People, Food and Forests

Source Erika C. Vohman, www.theequilibriumfund.o
What is Maya Nut?
  • The seed of Brosimum alicastrum, in the Fig
    family (Moraceae)
  • A large rainforest tree once widespread and very
    common in Mexico, Central America, Hispaniola,
    Cuba and Jamaican forests, now threatened by
    logging interests and slash and burn farming
  • The staple food of PreColumbian hunter-gatherer
    cultures throughout mesoamerica and parts of the
  • Nutritious, delicious and easy to harvest
  • Organic, non-GMO, fair trade, wheat and lactose
    free, wildcrafted forest food
  • A socioecologically appropriate food source and
    cash crop for the tropics

Maya Nut has more protein, calcium and iron than
corn, wheat and rice
Maya Nut has more B-vitamins, Vitamin C and
vitamin E than corn, wheat or rice and more
vitamin A than wheat or rice.
Unlike other vegetable foods, Maya Nut contains
sufficient tryptophan, an essential amino acid.
This makes it a complete protein, similar in
quality to meat
Maya Nut produces 4 times more food and 10 times
more protein per hectare than corn
Maya Nut 1,800 kg/ hectare Corn 324 kg/ hectare
Maya Nut protects soil, water and biodiversity.
Provides firewood, forage, food and medicine
This typical Maya Nut grove protects soil, water
and biodiversity. It provides food for parrots,
macaws, toucans, peccaries, deer, kinkajous,
pacas, agoutis, rodents, monkeys, tepezcuintle
and many other forest creatures. Groves like this
one were once common throughout Mesoamerica and
are hypothesized to be remnant food forests of
ancient cultures
  • Boiled Maya Nut tastes like mashed potatoes. It
    contains no bitter taste and no toxic alkaloids.
  • It can be ground and used like corn in
    traditional recipes including tortillas, tamales,
    porridge and soup.

Maya Nut tortillas are much more nutritious and
delicious than those made with corn Since I
started cooking with Maya Nut, my children ask
for it every day, they love it and they seem
These Guatemalan women are graduates of the Maya
Nut cooking class. This is a one-day course and
the women can use their new skills to better feed
their families and produce Maya Nut to sell.
Their husbands will never cut another Maya Nut
tree for firewood
Poultry/Pheasants, Grapes, and Sweet Corn SARE
  • Jeff Greg Kuntz
  • assisted by
  • William Kuntz

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Potential Profit .17 acre
  • Estimated Year Three
  • 228 Pheasants X 5 1,140
  • 125 doz. Sweet Corn X 3 375
  • 60 vines X 8 480 X .50 240

1,755 Total Per acre equiv. 10,323
  • Eight Features that may describe
  • post-industrial agriculture
  • __________________________________________________
  • 1. Energy conserving,
  • 2. Driven by biological synergies,
  • 3. Self-regulating and self-renewing,
  • 4. Interdependent,
  • 5. Shift from extraction/preservation to
    ecological restoration model,
  • 6. Biological synergies,
  • 7. Adaptive management, and
  • 8. Adequate food production based on nutrient
    density and
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