From the Ground Up: Rethinking Industrial Agriculture

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Zed Books, 2001 - Business & Economics - 120 pages
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Modern industrial agriculture is in crisis. In our obsession with 'efficiency' and short-term profit, we are losing all real connection with the natural world. As a result, the dream of global abundance promised by the introduction of chemical fertilisers, pesticides and hybrid seeds is becoming a nightmare of health risks, degraded land and ailing communities. The way we produce our food is destructive and quite simply unsustainable.

From the Ground Up: Rethinking Industrial Agriculture sets the decline of agriculture within the broader context of industrialisation as a whole, and explores some of the fundamental principles which underlie the 'growth-at-any-cost' thinking of modern society. At the same time, it documents the growing public distrust of conventional agricultural practices, and highlights some of the most promising alternatives leading to more sane, environmentally healthy ways of producing food.

This book is a valuable reference for those concerned with the future of agriculture - in the industrialised countries as well as in the South, where agricultural development continues to be modelled on the industrial ideal.
 

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Contents

The Context of Industrial Agriculture
3
Artificial Abundance
10
The Deadly Solution
16
Farm as Factory
24
More of the Same 4 1
41
The Context of Ecological Agriculture
51
Techniques of Ecological Agriculture
64
Positive Trends
77
Counterdevelopment and New Ways Forward
87
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About the author (2001)

Helena Norberg-Hodge is director of both the Ladakh Project and ISEC. Her formal training was in linguistics, including work at MIT with Noam Chomsky. She has lectured extensively on environmental issues in both Europe and North America, and is the author of Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh (1991), which explores the root causes behind today's environmental and social malaise, In 1986, she received the Right Livelihood Award, commonly known as the 'Alternative Nobel Prize'.Peter Goering graduated in civil engineering from Princeton University. He received his MA from the Energy and Resources Group of the University of California at Berkeley, a department which conducts interdisciplinary research into the relationship between resources, society and the environment. He is currently preparing his doctoral dissertation on 'Sustainable Development and the Contradictions of Modernism', while also working as the ISEC's Research Coordinator.John Page was trained as a barrister in London. For the last decade he has coordinated the technical, educational and agricultural activities of the Ladakh Project, and is now programmes director of ISEC. He is the producer/director of two recent films: The Future of Progress, a compilation of interviews with internationally known environmentalists, and Ancient Futures: Lessons from Little Tibet, a documentary based on Ms Norberg-Hodge's book.