Industrial agriculture harms the environment through pollution of air, soil and water.
It is impossible to separate our food production, processing and distribution from our environment. Unfortunately, the industrial or “conventional” way of producing food causes large-scale environmental degradation.
Monocropped fields require chemical fertilizers and pesticides that run off into soil and waterways. Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), also known as factory farms, result in excess animal waste that pollutes soil, water and air. These methods of food production use finite resources without replenishing them.
In addition, the way we produce and consume food is inextricably connected to global climate change, which in turn exerts a huge impact on the food system. Drought, flood, extreme heat and extreme cold are already affecting crops.
But new advances in sustainable agriculture are rooted in regenerative practices based on a whole ecosystem approach. They invest in the natural environment, rather than depleting it, building soil health, clean water systems and biodiversity. The sustainable approach also reduces industrial farming emissions, building environmental resilience, adapting both food production and the land to climate change.