Using his fieldwork experience from around the world, Cleveland argues that combining selected aspects of small-scale, traditional agrifood systems with modern science and technology can help balance our biological need for food with its environmental impact while fulfilling cultural, social and psychological needs related to food.
Examples presented in the book include farmers working with plant breeders to improve traditional crop varieties instead of engineering transgenic varieties; intercropping and other agroecological methods instead of large-scale application of energy-intensive inputs; common property management of agriculture and food by communities instead of private ownership by the minority; improved diets that support health and decrease environmental impact instead of diets that cause disease and contribute to climate change; and more smaller-scale food systems that strengthen local communities instead of globalized food systems that support multinational corporations.
"Investment in the alternatives must increase with the goal of shifting our focus away from supply-side solutions," Cleveland said. "We can't just make our consumption more efficient; we need to decrease our demand in order to decrease overall consumption and absolute impact. This approach could be a major contributor to avoiding catastrophic global warming.
"We have the power as individuals to make big changes and it doesn't require new inventions or enormous hardship," he continued. "It doesn't require major investments in new technologies and infrastructures, but it does require a change in thinking and behavior at the individual, community and institutional levels. We need to be thinking more critically, realistically and creatively about options for the future that move us beyond th
|Contact: Julie Cohen|
University of California - Santa Barbara