By Ben Schiller
The idea of saving starving, emaciated kids makes great advertisements for agricultural science, as do numerous reports that predict worldwide food shortages by the middle of this century. If you're facing famine, it is hard to argue with technology that might produce more food.
In this snappy new video, Anna Lappé, from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, argues that industrial agriculture decimates small family farms, uses vast amounts of expensive "inputs" (fossil fuels, pesticides), and gravely impacts the environment. Sustainable farming, she says, could serve the planet just as well, especially if we made better use of the food we already produce. Global agriculture produces far more food than the entire planet needs to survive, but a large portion of it goes to biofuels, we waste a lot in the developed world, and food production centers don't match up well with global population centers.
There is a lot more to this issue than a six-and-a-half-minute video. But this one is definitely worth your time, and provides a strong viewpoint. It's possible the solution for scarcity lies as much in examining our existing food system, as simply producing more food.
Copyright 2012 by Fast Company. Reprinted with permission.