Solutions: Agriculture

Summary——————–Overview——————–Solutions

INDIVIDUALS
  • Buy local sustainable food. Buy produce from local farmers that adopt sustainable practices to grow native crops. Try to purchase in season as well, to avoid relying on food imports.
  • Grow native species. Whether it’s a cute garden or just plain grass, grow native species to avoid irrigation and strengthen local ecosystems.
  • Diversify your garden. After some quick research, be creative and try to plant native species that you feel would work well together. If it doesn’t work out, just try something else instead of opting for chemical products. At this individual scale, you should feel free to try different intercropping combinations and see what works best – with minimal consequences if it doesn’t work out [i.e. you won’t attract/develop invasive species at this scale].
  • Avoid chemicals. Spraying chemicals won’t help you in the long run, it’ll just make the job harder next time. Instead, try new things like growing diverse native species and respecting nutrient cycles without using synthetic fertilizers.
  • Compost organic waste. This will help individuals contribute to the nutrient cycle.
LARGER SCALES
  • Businesses: Employ sustainable practices. For long-term results, this is the best solution. There’s a wide range of sustainable practices, this report outlines many solutions that can also help sequester carbon at the same time.
  • Governments: Incentivize farmers that switch from intensive to sustainable agriculture. With governments guaranteeing the purchase of sustainably grown crops in the next few years [e.g. by subsidizing grocery stores that purchase sustainable foods, regulating prices, etc…], governments could help farmers achieve that transition risk-free. This would help ensure food security is achieved through the purchase of local/sustainable crops first, and imported foods as a complement.
  • Governments: Review subsidies to producers and tax unsustainably grown foods. Reviewing subsidies is crucial to spark change and attract investments in the agricultural sector, since most producers rely heavily on government subsidies. After a fair warning time and subsidies to allow transition to sustainable practices, remove subsidies for unsustainable farms.
  • Governments: Develop a farmland restoration organization. Farmlands that have relied on chemical inputs for decades will likely need some work before they can start growing sustainable foods. Providing a free or performance-based [only charges farmers that have increased profits since switching to sustainable methods] service that teaches farmers how to prepare their fields and a few of the best sustainable practices will help ensure farmers aren’t forced to switch over, then fail.
  • Governments: Remediate damaged soils. Especially soils that were damaged by intensive agriculture.
  • Governments: Restore green ecosystems. Where sustainable farming isn’t needed/possible, restoring green ecosystems will help increase carbon sequestration and provide habitats for biodiversity.
  • Governments & Businesses: Use compost and manure to supply croplands with nutrients. Instead of retrieving energy from organic waste, we can use the nutrients to farm sustainably. This can help reduce emissions and store carbon, which can end up offsetting as much CO2e as waste-to-energy.
  • Governments: Subsidize retail stores and farmers that sell inexpensive healthy foods. Much of the world’s malnutrition issues stem from the fact that healthy foods are expensive. If governments wish to stop malnutrition and instead promote healthy foods, they’re going to have to make it a viable option for low-income families. This is strongly linked to encouraging sustainable agriculture, since crops would then contain more nutrients. It would also offer greater stability in food prices, since production quantity/quality wouldn’t vary with time [in other words, food insecurity from unsustainable practices is one of the root causes of malnutrition].
  • Governments & Businesses: Adopt eco-friendly credits. There’s more to the environmental crisis than GHG emissions, so there should be more types of credits than just carbon credits. ‘Sponsoring’ sustainable farmers through these types of credits could prove essential to quickly transition from our current agricultural systems to more sustainable practices.