006 - Sustainable Agriculture

Syllabus Point

Examine (AO3) the concept of sustainable agriculture in terms of energy efficiency ratios and sustainable yields.

Key Terminology

Define the words above using the links provided and the command term posters in the classroom.

Useful Links

Activity One - Discuss

  • Before we look at sustainable agriculture we need to understand the impact that agriculture has had on our planet. Watch the following clips and complete a mind map of the different ways that farming can impact the land.
  • The mind map can either be done on A3 paper with coloured pens or on Mindmeister.
  • By reading the following article add to your mind map the different ways that farming can be unsustainable.


Activity Two - Developing Definitions

We now have a good idea of the problems that farming can create but how can this problems be addressed. Before we can suggest ideas of improvement for farming methods we need to understand what sustainable agriculture is.

  1. There are many definitions, using the quotes below create your own definition.

"A sustainable community food system is a collaborative network that integrates sustainable food production, processing, distribution, consumption and waste management in order to enhance the environmental, economic and social health of a particular place..." (http://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/sfs)

"The term ''sustainable agriculture'' (U.S. Code Title 7, Section 3103) means an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will over the long-term:

Satisfy human food and fiber needs.

Enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agriculture economy depends.

Make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls.

Sustain the economic viability of farm operations.

Enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole." (http://www.nifa.usda.gov/nea/ag_systems/in_focus/sustain_ag_if_legal.html)

"Sustainable agriculture can be defined in many ways, but ultimately it seeks to sustain farmers, resources and communities by promoting farming practices and methods that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities. Sustainable agriculture fits into and complements modern agriculture. It rewards the true values of producers and their products. It draws and learns from organic farming. It works on farms and ranches large and small, harnessing new technologies and renewing the best practices of the past."(http://www.westernsare.org/About-Us/What-is-Sustainable-Agriculture)

Activity Three - How can farming methods be improved?

  • An Example
  1. Using the following subheadings research how the factors can help to make farming more sustainable.
      • Crop rotation to maintain healthy soils.
      • Nutrient cycling - manure, grazing and turning the soil.
      • Eating choices
      • Animal welfare


Exam Style Question

Is sustainable agriculture an impossible dream? (10 marks)