Sunday, April 15, 2007

New book on the future of farming

here's an exerpt from a review of Colin Tudge's new book: Feeding people is easy. Highly recommended. tudge is a frequent contributor to New Scientist, and he argues here for "enlightened capitalism" but against "the devil-take-the-hindmost variety" that prevails today. According to Tudge, the only way to overcome this malign ideology is to circumvent it - by producers and consumers who co-operate until enlightened agriculture attains critical mass.
"What we must do, he says, is to adopt what he calls ”enlightened agriculture”. This means traditional mixed farming. With minimal mechanisation and use of artificial chemicals, such farms are more efficient - in terms of energy inputs and outputs - than modern high-tech farms. By joyous coincidence, the output of an enlightened farm closely matches the ideal input of the healthy human: ”plenty of plants, not much meat and maximum variety”. This mix in turn is the basis of the world’s great traditional cuisines; feeding people can indeed be easy. And because enlightened agriculture is labour-intensive, it gives people something more worthwhile to do than crowding up mega-cities."

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