This is a really poignant article/interview by Peter Pearsall. Fred Kirschenmann cuts to the chase about many details in sustainable food and agriculture.
I’ll quote a couple of the really profound points below:
“So this raises an interesting question: Why wouldn’t farmers make this transition, if it has so many benefits? The answer is that the market infrastructure doesn’t support that kind of diversity. That’s a big problem. You know, you go to a farmer in Iowa—and I’ve done this—and say, “You’ve got all these benefits, why wouldn’t you do this?” And the first thing the farmers say is, “What the hell am I going to do with the alfalfa? I can’t take it to the local elevator and sell it.” So the farmers are under pressure to produce as much corn and soybeans as possible, and that’s what they’re going to do.
I’m not terribly optimistic that simply demonstrating how this is a better way to do it is going to change things. I think the market infrastructure is going to start changing when the current market system no longer works.”
“…simply intensifying agriculture in one part of the world to feed the rest of the world is not going to solve the problem… It’s that “right to food” approach. You’re not saying, “Well, gee, we’ve got hungry people over there—we have to figure out how to feed them,” which continues to make them dependent. We have to figure out a way to give them the resources they need to feed themselves and empower them.”
Although I found the philosophical points a bit more intriguing in this article he also mentions more research that bolsters the concepts of increasing soil health by increasing biological diversity.