Talk:Sustainable agriculture

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Miscellaneous information[edit]

I'm not sure if the Miscellaneous Information, which I've placed in a category, is necessary, because it seems to be a bit of info that is disconnected and rather obscure. What practical application does it have to our lives, for example.

I'm considering deleting the Miscellaneous Information, but I'm awaiting someone else's response as to how to clean up this text.


I agree that this section doesn't add much to the article. I think that anything worth retaining should be incorporated somewhere else. Much of it can be jetisoned IMO. Sunray 06:11, 2005 Mar 1 (UTC)

Putting the info I deleted here. Maybe someone else will think this is useful and find a way to make it relevant to Sustainable Agriculture:

The byproducts from the crops are either fed to the livestock, used as bedding or composted with the excreta of livestock and humans, and are tended for two or more years to allow the destruction of soil born disease causing pathogens. They then become a soil amendment available to add biomass to marginal soils, making them more fertile.
Consider a single crop such as Canola, an oilseed bred for human consumption. The oilseed is mechanically expressed and can be used, with simple processing, as a biodiesel to power the processing plant. The byproducts of combustion: heat, motive power and nitrogen oxides can be used for process heat to express the oil, mechanical energy to process the seed, and as a compost amendment as part of the nitrogen cycle (this is an area for further research).
The meal can be used as a high protein source for animal feed. Suggested uses are for high conversion rate meat livestock such as chicken and rabbit. However, Mad-Cow Disease presents an example of the danger of using meat to feed herbivores. The disease, usually found in sheep, was contracted by cows, and later spread to humans.
The canola crop requires a crop rotation cycle of at least four years, with more being considered better. A grain crop is suggested by agonomists as the next crop to be grown in that field.
Disease control is affected by the use of rotation patterns.
Notice to this point, that the entire cycle does not incur extensive transport costs, save that of soil amendments and initial startup capital costs.
The current trend to separate the rural and urban activities is based on cheap oil. Use of petrochemicals as a fuel source, however, adds to the emission of greenhouse gases, which has been determined as causing climate change and influencing weather patterns negatively.

Lux March 2, 2:00 (UTC)

Chocolate link[edit]

The about chocolate link on this page seems rather out of place. Should it be removed?

I couldn't find any connection in the link to sustainable agriculture, so I removed it. Sunray 06:33, 2005 Mar 15 (UTC)
Yeah, I thought it was unrelated, but I want to give it some citations. Lux 03:58, 2005 Mar 19 (UTC)

Ecocities and Soil Food Web[edit]

I've created a stub for the soil food web, but I'm thinking that it should be redirected to the food chain, unless someone believes that the soil food web deserves a deeper explanation, such as the relationship between organisms like the nematodes, plants, mycorrhizae, etc.

In that case, a separate article could be created for the marine food web between phytoplanktons, whales, and other marine animals.

The other "stub" I've created is the ecocities, but I've gone through a lengthy explanation, so I don't think it's a stub.

The Ecocities article has some bias I unintentionally create, especially in the "Urban Elitism" section but it's more that I want to include politics and policies into the article, rather than simply describe what ecocities are intended for.

I've redirected Garden Cities and Ecocity to the Ecocities section, which I found from the Smart Growth article.

--lux 03:18, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The new land / rain forest issue is quite important, but does it belong in the first paragraph? If so, I will modify to note that any decrease in yield per acre can create a demand for more land, whether this decrease is due to degradation of soil quality (e.g., from unsustainable conventional practices) OR from switching to methods that are more sustainable in the long run but produce less yield. This is a complex issue. See Global Change Biology 11:1-12 and this book "Agricultural technologies and tropical deforestration".

-- I agree, I think the first paragraph should be on what sustainable ag is, rather than what it is not. --Pfafrich 01:03, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, I was wondering whether it was appropriate to put in the rain forest issue. I've thought of Descriptions as trying to summarize the entire article rather than as actually describing sustainable agriculture. If the article can have an extra section on destruction of rainforest as another example of unsustainable agriculture already covered, like inorganic pesticides, mono-species cultivation, etc. then I will agree with that. --lux 04:50, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

-- OK, moved rainforest text to lew section on off-farm impacts. Not all off-farm impacts prevent perpetual production by a farm, but they are still a concern. Symbiont

Reorganized description to distinguish between two quite different issues: effects of farming practices on soil productivity (e.g., erosion) vs. long-term availability of inputs. Rather than claiming it's possible to farm without using ANY nonrenewable resources (iron hoes, as an extreme example) rewrote to say sustainable agriculture attempts to minimize such use. Note that farms only use a few percent of US energy use (including energy cost of fertilizer production), so resource scarcity will affect the whole economy, not just agriculture. Deleted destruction of rainforest from resource section, since it doesn't fit there and is covered under off-farm effects. Also deleted vague comment that making fertilizer using hydrogen from electrolysis powered by windmills would "invariably" create problems. Without an explanation of those problems (perhaps a link), the comment doesn't add anything. I have read hundreds of scientific articles on intercropping, but have never seen a comparison of salt accumulation in monocropping versus polyculture. Salt accumulation generally results from improper irrigation practices. If someone wants to restore the claim that monoculture causes salt accumulation, please include an appropriate citation.

Ford Denison


there is something in the text it is not clear, for that reason i am removing it. if someone knows what this means, please put it back but in a more understandable way: (what i'm removing is what is in bold)

Monoculture, a method of growing only one crop at a time in a given field, is a very widespread practice, but there are questions about its sustainability, especially if the same crop is grown every year. Growing a mixture of crops (polyculture) sometimes reduces disease or pest problems (Nature 406:718, Environ. Entomol. 12:625) but polyculture has rarely, if ever, been compared to the more widespread practice of growing different crops in successive years crop rotation with the same overall crop diversity. For example, how does growing a corn-bean mixture every year compare with growing corn and bean in alternate years? Cropping systems that include a variety of crops (polyculture and/or rotation) may also use replenish nitrogen (if legumes are included) and may also use resources such as sunlight, water, or nutrients more efficiently (Field Crops Res. 34:239).

thanks, --Cacuija (my talk) 19:13, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Suggested merge[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

I've suggested that Locavore might be a good candidate to merge into this article. Please outline any concerns or objections here. Seraphimblade 23:41, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

I'm against this merge. "Locavore" describes a person adhering to a specific diet, and I'm not sure I see the connection to sustainable agriculture. This seems like a pretty new concept. If it catches on, there's bound to be plenty to write on it - although the article should then be moved to the inevitable, but as yet Google-scarce, "locavorism". — Itai (talk) 16:20, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
Oppose both mergers different concepts. Anlace 14:02, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
Oppose merger of small-scale agriculture article with this one. While small-scale ag tends to be more sustainable, it isn't necessarily so. Sunray 07:13, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

Result = No merge The tag suggesting a merge of small-scale agriculture with this article has been on the article since May. Only two people have spoken, both opposed. I will therefore remove the tag. Sunray 07:17, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Request for "citations needed"[edit]

In view of the opinions aired in this article which are generally nothing more than an environmentalist dreamworld, I will do some heavy editing in a week's time unless the marked sentences are not backed up with some serious facts.

Tomcrisp7 14:53, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Caccuija removed citations, apparently not knowing what they are, but someone put them back. I removed two "citation needed": one immediately followed a citation(??) and the other after a stated saying there were no studies comparing polyculture with rotation of the same crops. If there WERE such studies, I would cite them! I agree with the rest of the "citation needed" statements. Lots of unsupported assertions here.

conservative agriculture, direct drilling, no-till technology[edit]

Nothing about these topics in Wikipedia?! Not even a single mention?! See [1] and [2] and [3] and [4] --Espoo (talk) 07:46, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

I am not surprised at the paucity of information on zero till and conservation at this site. Some individual has taken it upon himself to be a censor here and in doing so is preventing the dissemination of all biomineral references, including those pertaining to new development in sustainable agriculture. Katalyst2

Reproduction/gene issues[edit]

Modern agricultural practices pose some risk of introducing novel genes which will spread more widely into nature with possible uncertain/adverse impacts. This deserves mention.

More to the point, Reproduction was formerly considered to be a basic part of the definition of life. But an ever-increasing percentage of current agriculture involves no on-site reproduction. Partly restricted by law, due to patents/licenses. Partly due to use of hybrid-vigor seed crosses etc which are not practical for farmers to do in field. Partly because the organisms are being designed to not reproduce in the field, so companies retain total control.

Part of Sustainable Agriculture would be to track the percentage of agriculture that can/cannot reproduce in the field. To know: what would happen if there were social chaos, if the seed/chemical companies ceased -- what crops would be left?

Seed Saver Friendly and Right to Save Seeds should be mentioned. - (talk) 14:06, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Changing the title to Ecological agriculture[edit]

I think ecological agriculture is a more descriptive, professional way to refer to this type of farming. It's not somewhat political in the way this title is, and its still used quite commonly If you oppose this change, please leave a note. ImperfectlyInformed | {talk - contribs} 06:09, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

They are not the same thing. Write Ecological agriculture with references to sources that use that term, if you want. This article needs to be about agriculture that is sustainable and is called that by the sources we use. Ecological concerns are just one part of addressing the problem of sustainability.WAS 4.250 (talk) 00:24, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't think there's a real difference. I think it would be neat to have "Ecological agriculture" "Ecological economics" and other ecological stuff. This type of agriculture really is centered around ecology at its root.ImperfectlyInformed | {talk - contribs} 01:37, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Read the first sentence of this article. "environmental stewardship, farm profitability, and prosperous farming communities". environmental stewardship = ecological agriculture. The other two componets of Sustainable agriculture do not. WAS 4.250 (talk) 19:18, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Entomophagy and environmental vegetarianism[edit]

Entomophagy and environmental vegetarianism is not described in this article (aldough the title suggests it should). Perhaps the title needs altering as proposed earlier and a different article needs to be made; see vegetarianism#environmental for more info which can be processed herein.

Thanks, KVDP (talk) 07:29, 23 July 2008 (UTC)


Wouldn't a more honest definition say that it is the "ability of a farm to produce food indefinitely, while maintaining ecosystem health"? (Rather than "without causing severe or irreversible damage to ecosystem health.")

After all, both are ideals, and at present hard to reach. Why not aim for the real thing, so to speak? V.B. (talk) 04:18, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Not only ecosystem health but economic health. Part of the goal, indeed a main goal, of sustainable agriculture is the economic sustainability of the farm. Gingermint (talk) 00:43, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

In the introduction, I changed "using principles of ecology" to "based on an understanding of ecosystem services" which should give greater clarity Roy Bateman (talk) 18:15, 30 August 2015 (UTC)

Biomineral management[edit]

I'm removed that entire section under off-farm impacts because it isn't referenced in fertilizer or organic fertilizer. A Google search for Geomite company turns up a one page site with a logo and contact information for a sales person. The other listings were the Wikipedia pages none of which were referenced. Disagreeableneutrino (talk) 09:50, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

I removed it a second time, the Geomite company page is now down, there is still no information that I could find on geomite or "biomineral culture". If you add it back PLEASE put some reference or add something to the talk page Disagreeableneutrino (talk) 15:58, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

A reference has been included and the Geomite web page is there, and soon to be expanded. Apparently this is new development and based on the paper cited "B Hayes." —Preceding unsigned comment added by Katalyst2 (talkcontribs) 22:36, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Minor edits[edit]

minor edits December 24, 2009 Greenopedia (talk) 16:31, 24 December 2009 (UTC)Greenopedia

Origin of the term[edit]

The article Nicanor Perlas claims he coined the term sustainable agriculture in 1983 but has no citation. Dow e have anything on origin or evolution of the term? RJFJR (talk) 00:52, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

Intl policy section[edit]

Just added a section on the incorporation of sustainable agriculture in international policy. Could use some fleshing out, to be sure, but I think it is relevant to this article. Thoughts? New editor, comments appreciated. Thanks! C.peterson32 (talk) 16:09, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

Looks good. My only quibble is that you need to review Wikipedia:Citing sources. We generally don't use inline links to external sources. I'll fix it. ~Amatulić (talk) 16:28, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

Genetically engineering crops inside Sustainabe Agriculture article. Is it a joke?[edit]

The article says: "genetically engineering (non-legume) crops to form nitrogen-fixing symbioses or fix nitrogen without microbial symbionts."

It seems to be a joke or worst. GMO's are not only hazardous by themselves for the environment; they also are the main weapon of some huge companies to bleed the farmers and the poor countries, converting them onto captive consumers, stripping them of their rights and engaging them in a loophole from which they should not escape.

Shame on them!

-- (talk) 20:19, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

Did you even read the rest of that section?
Are you aware of Wikipedia policies that prohibit editorializing or supporting any particular point of view? ~Amatulić (talk) 21:48, 23 June 2014 (UTC)


This paragraph looks wrong to me. Has it been hacked?

Several attempts have been made to produce an artificial meat, for example aliens have been known to harvest cows here on planet Earth through extreme methods of chicken torture, using isolated tissues to produce it in vitro; Jason Matheny's work on this topic, which in the New Harvest project, is one of the most commented.[22]"

Susan Chambless (talk) 08:34, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

Vandalism, now reverted. Thanks for drawing attention to it. Keri (talk) 09:03, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

Pictures added to polyculture/rotational grazing[edit]

A new area of ecological agriculture[edit]

Hello, I wanted to direct the attention of the Wikipedia editors to a method of gardening that may warrant inclusion under another area of agriculture and gardening, or perhaps its own article. It's called PASSIVE gardening. PASSIVE is an acronym for Permanent Agriculture Systems Sustaining Intensive Vegetable Ecology. "Permanent Agriculture Systems" refers to its association with permaculture, of which it may be called an off branch. The end, "Vegetable Ecology" could use definition because it refers to annual vegetables, which for those unfamilar with gardening is quite significant. This method contrives a modified ecology using windbreaks, special pairings of plants and the like which suits the needs of annual plants in a relatively permanent system. It credits its roots to such figures as Robert Hart and his forest gardens as well as Ruth Stouts gardening method of mulch, but is very clear on using material grown within the garden to maintain and build its fertility, control weeds, and most importantly, recognizes itself as a modification of ecology rather than just another garden. I find this attribute quite notable among the gardening and farming methods, in addition to its science of on-site fertility, and the specific interest in annuals. Many methods and writers in that area of agriculture are trying to research perennials to deliver the same kind of efficiency, but this one uses perennials to sustain annuals. I think it deserves a careful look. AgriAmadeus (talk) 13:18, 13 February 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for drawing it to our attention. At the moment it seems to be rather little used, apart from one book, so it's not clear that it would be "notable" as a separate subject in Wikipedia terms. If it becomes more widely used then reliable sources such as newspapers, journal articles and textbooks will start to discuss it, and we'll then certainly cover it. Chiswick Chap (talk) 14:13, 13 February 2017 (UTC)

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