My vision for the future of food is that our agricultural systems grow resiliency and allow us to feed the planet and people such that resources are not depleted. Ecosystems are complex adaptive systems that can’t be managed, but we need to use them and work with them for regeneration. This starts with regenerating our soil which would positively benefit a lot of systems that are intimately interconnected. This will require systemic intervention. Values such as the willingness to adapt to lifestyle changes, compromise, learn, and patience are all essential virtues that will support and elicit this change. We can flourish under an agricultural system, it just needs to be amended in more sustainable ways.
There are ridiculous amounts of food waste that occur globally. Food waste can be collected from cities and turned into compost which can be directed to local farms that will assist with water retention as compost acts as a sponge, instead of it getting incinerated and to be dealt with in our already overflowing landfills. Fines could be introduced to residents who do not properly separate compost from other materials. This incentivizes the implementation of compost facilities as it would help grow the economy in a sustainable way that gives back and supports agriculture, the carbon, and water cycle.
The use of no till drills could be made legally mandatory for farmers to prevent soil erosion and water loss by implanting directly into the soil without disturbing the topsoil and instead nurturing it. This will allow rain to penetrate into it and cause more dependable rainfall for our crops instead of run off, evaporation, and pollution of our water supplies as well as facilitating microbe growth which leads to more plant growth. Moreover, herbivorous livestock that is an essential part of our food can also be used to combat desertification and pull down carbon into the soil through controlled grazing. Adopting silvopasture, which is an agroforestry system being implemented more in Canada, merges trees, forage, and grazing of domesticated animals such that it is mutually beneficial allowing us to maintain our current systems in a more sustainable way.
These simple changes can come to fruition but one of the many obstacles we face at the forefront is currently implemented policy as well as a lack of education. Subsidies exacerbate the problem. As a result, overhauling subsidies in general to drive change and implement programs that allocate and invest these funds to assist farmers in these transitions for long-term sustainable agriculture. At the root of this issue again, lies money and the incentive to invest.