Anticipating a new agricultural research agenda for the twenty-first century

Authored by: Frederick L. Kirschenmann

Routledge International Handbook of Food Studies

Print publication date:  August  2012
Online publication date:  May  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415782647
eBook ISBN: 9780203819227
Adobe ISBN: 9781136741661


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The food system we have created during the past half century is designed to achieve a singular goal: Maximum efficient production for short-term economic return. To achieve that goal we have created farming systems that feature specialization, management simplification and economies of scale. Furthermore, our public policies for agriculture have been designed to further that singular goal. But there is nothing in that goal, or the policies created to support it, that is designed to achieve sustainability—a resilient food and agriculture system. It is now imperative that we explore alternative food and agriculture systems, and foster public policies and research agendas, that produce resilient food systems that can maintain productivity in the face of future challenges—the end of cheap energy, depleting minerals, fresh water, and biodiversity, and more unstable climates.

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