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Is biodiverse agriculture an anachronism?

Published: 24 Feb 2014

Given the need to feed an estimated 2.4 billion more people by the year 2050, the drive toward large-scale, single-crop farming around the world may seem inexorable.

Published on Feb 21, 2014 | Teatro Naturale International
Written by S.C.

Given the need to feed an estimated 2.4 billion more people by the year 2050, the drive toward large-scale, single-crop farming around the world may seem inexorable.

But there’s an important downside to this trend, argues Timothy Johns, Professor of Human Nutrition at McGill University in Montreal, in a paper presented Feb. 15 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago.

Diets for most people around the world are becoming increasingly limited in biological and nutritional diversity. “Large-scale agriculture is characteristically simplified and less diverse than small-holder agriculture,” Prof. Johns cautions. “This is true in genetic, ecological and nutritional terms.”

Small farmers, by contrast, in many places continue to grow a range of species and multiple varieties that form the basis of their diet and nutrition. Use of a range of wild species of fruit, vegetables, condiments and medicines, as well as wild animal-sourced foods, increase the likelihood that subsistence farmers with access to natural ecosystems meet their nutrition and health needs.

Read the full story here.

Source Site: /sustainability