To feed the world's growing and more affluent population, global agriculture will have to double its food production by 2050. More farming, however, usually means more environmental harm as a result of clearing land, burning fossil fuels, consuming water for irrigation and spreading fertilizer. Agriculture already imposes a greater burden on Earth than almost any other human activity, so simply doubling current practices would ruin large areas of land as well as poisoning rivers and oceans.
An international research team led by Jon Foley at the University of Minnesota has concluded that five basic changes in the way agriculture operates—and in the ways we eat—could double food production, yet decrease overall environmental impacts. The steps are as follows: improve crop yields, consume less meat, reduce food waste, stop expanding into rainforests, and use fertilizer and water more efficiently. The changes are reflected in a series of maps. For a detailed explanations, see "Can We Feed the World and Sustain the Planet?".