Our current food system isn't sustainable for growing nutritious crops, raising healthy livestock or feeding billions of people. Industrial livestock farming involves cramped, unclean quarters and stressful living conditions, and farmers inject animals with antibiotics mixtures. The need for new agricultural methods only increases with our growing population. Growers must be able to provide wholesome, plentiful food for expanding communities.
Agriculture causes most of the water pollution, overexploitation and biodiversity loss that wildlife environments experience. Monocrops have monopolised fields and forests, clearing away vegetation that once supported biodiversity. Other forms of plant life suffer from farmers prioritising one cash crop over the rest. Palm oil exists in everything from shampoo to potato chips, but palm plantations destroy forests and habitats. Land conversion turns woodland areas and rainforests into vast fields and uproots the native animals. Successful alternatives to commodity crops exist, but their effectiveness often depends on location and climate.
Natural resources provide raw materials and goods amounting to $125 trillion per year, and major industries will keep taking more until nothing remains. Many environmentalists are advocating for more renewable sources to avoid depleting finite materials.
The food system has to change in significant ways if it hopes to continue amidst changing climates and disappearing landscapes. Past farming methods are no longer as lucrative or effective as they once were due to droughts and unpredictable weather. Farmers in areas of southern Europe have already suffered losses from weather events related to climate change. Researchers expect the production of certain European crops to decline by 50 percent by 2050, which will eliminate a sizable proportion of their agricultural income.
Westernised diets—featuring overprocessed and high-fat foods—have spread across numerous countries. Growers must introduce more varieties of foods into their harvests to resist this oversimplification of diets. Reducing meat consumption is a favorable option among many environmentalists, but this hinges on several factors.
Livestock farmland is typically not arable, meaning that even if farmers reduced their cattle, they wouldn't be able to use this land for crops. Animals aren't the only contributors to methane emissions, either. Everyday tasks like running machinery and laying down fertilizer involve greenhouse gases.
Integrative farming, along with regenerative techniques, is a workable solution for preserving farmland. Farmers raise crops and cattle by establishing a fair exchange between both groups. A portion of the vegetation turns into feed, while the manure goes to the fields to nourish the plants. Little agricultural waste remains, and the soil benefits from regular feeding. Industrial operations don't often raise livestock and crops in the same area, which makes regenerative techniques rare on large farms. Kenyan farmers have embraced techniques common to the sustainable intensification approach to increase their food production while protecting local ecosystems. Regenerative agriculture characterizes plant life and livestock as parts of a living biome rather than commodities.
The fast and easy way isn't always the healthiest, and Earth has paid the price for commercialised growing.