Crisis and Opportunity


Crisis and Opportunity

Sustainability in American Agriculture

John E. Ikerd

Our Sustainable Future Series

342 pages


May 2008


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

May 2008


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

With the decline of family farms and rural communities and the rise of corporate farming and the resulting environmental degradation, American agriculture is in crisis. But this crisis offers the opportunity to rethink agriculture in sustainable terms. Here one of the most eloquent and influential proponents of sustainable agriculture explains what this means. These engaging essays describe what sustainable agriculture is, why it began, and how it can succeed. Together they constitute a clear and compelling vision for rebalancing the ecological, economic, and social dimensions of agriculture to meet the needs of the present without compromising the future.
In Crisis and Opportunity, John E. Ikerd outlines the consequences of agricultural industrialization, then details the methods that can restore economic viability, ecological soundness, and social responsibility to our agricultural system and thus ensure sustainable agriculture as the foundation of a sustainable food system and a sustainable society.

Author Bio

John E. Ikerd is professor emeritus of agricultural economics at the University of Missouri. He is the author of Sustainable Capitalism, A Return to Common Sense, and Small Farms are Real Farms.


“For those who want to understand what sustainable agriculture is all about, Crisis and Opportunity is a major tour de force. Ikerd’s book is a profound source of information, perspective, and inspiration.”—Fred Magdoff, professor emeritus of soils at the University of Vermont and coeditor of Hungry for Profit

“An amazing collection of essays that reveal some of the clearest thinking on the sustainability of food and farming systems. This is a clarion call to come to our senses about our own future health and well-being as well as that of our communities and the planet that sustains us.”—Larry Yee, director of the University of California Cooperative Extension, Ventura County, and co-chair and cofounder of the Association of Family Farms

“Ikerd counters the efficiency model of industrial agriculture and presents a more rational path that leads to opportunity in agriculture and a more civil society. The book is well written and easy to read, it challenges us to a higher order of thinking.”—James E. Horne, president of Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture Inc. and coauthor of The Next Green Revolution

"Clearly defines the crisis and opportunities present today in American agriculture."—D. L. King, Choice

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Crisis and Opportunity in American Agriculture
Section I - The Industrialization of American Agriculture
Chapter 2. The Industrialization of Agriculture: Why We Should Stop Promoting It
Chapter 3. Corporate Agriculture and Family Farms
Chapter 4. The Corporatization of America
Section II - New Hope for the Future of Farming
Chapter 5. New Hope for the Future of Farming: Rediscovering Agriculture
Chapter 6. Farming in Harmony with Nature and Society
Chapter 7. Reclaiming the Sacred in Food and Farming
Section III - Principles of Sustainable Agriculture
Chapter 8. Sustainable Agriculture: Do We Really Need to Define It?
Chapter 9. Foundational Principles: Soils, Stewardship, and Sustainability
Chapter 10. Economics of Sustainable Farming
Chapter 11. The Renaissance of Rural America
Section IV - The New American Farmer
Chapter 12. Walking the Talk of Sustainable Agriculture
Chapter 13. Survival Strategies for Small Farms
Chapter 14. Marketing in the Niches: The Key to Sustainable Farming
Chapter 15. Local Organics Saves Farmland and Communities
Chapter 16. Farming in the Future: The Triple Bottom Line
Section V - Creating Sustainable Food and Farming Systems
Chapter 17. The Real Costs of Globalization
Chapter 18. Redirecting Government Policies for Agricultural Sustainability
Chapter 19. The New American Food System
Chapter 20. American Agriculture, after Fossil Energy

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