Global agricultural production is alarmingly unsustainable. Manipulating living beings, their genetics, and entire ecosystems to produce food has always been a technological feat. Advancements in farming technology have made it possible to surpass critical thresholds of planetary sustainability. Technological change in agriculture generates tension between those who benefit and those who bear the costs. Agriculture produces more than enough to feed the world’s human population, but the global economy allocates food inequitably among people and redirects food to industrial feedlots, biofuel refineries, and the waste stream. Technical solutions alone cannot fix the underlying socioeconomic systems that produce unjust and unsustainable food systems. Here we offer a starting point to guide the assessment of agricultural technology for both sustainability and justice, starting with their relationship to the logic of growth and domination that got us here. How can technology serve system change? And how can farming transform the unjust systems it literally feeds?
Lindsay Barbieri, Sonya Ahamed, and Sam Bliss. 2019. Farming within limits. Interactions 26, 5 (August 2019), 70-73. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3348795