The Challenge of Sustainable Food Availability

firstpr0 Church News, Earth Care, Education Ministry

Seminar Series: The Arc of Human History: Challenges to Sustainability. Sundays, TODAY through November 5, 11:00 a.m., Fellowship Hall. Pick up a flyer in the narthex or see the Open Door for more details.

Next Sunday, October 22: The Challenge of Sustainable Food Availability. Evan DeLucia: Professor, UI Department of Plant Biology, and Director of UI Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment. In society’s quest to feed an ever-increasing human population, more and more land under native vegetation is converted to intensive row-crop agriculture. Land conversion and changes in management practices affect the exchange of greenhouse gases and energy with the atmosphere. Diversifying agricultural practices in the American heartland can restore the climate regulating value of this landscape and increase ecological services, without compromising food production. Our research demonstrates that the wide-scale deployment of perennial bioenergy crops can help meet our need for liquid fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emission to the atmosphere, without reducing food production. Similarly, preliminary data indicate that a ‘production agroforestry system’ could replace the starch, oil, and protein produced from the maize-bean cropping system, while also restoring soil carbon and retaining nitrogen. Prudent land management practices in the agricultural heartland, combined with soft geoengineering strategies, can meet society’s growing demand for food, fiber, and fuel, and provide the additional ecological and economic benefits of enhancing carbon sequestration.