Explores the fundamental principles which underlie the 'growth-at-any-cost' thinking of modern society and highlights some of the most promising alternative ways of producing environmentally healthy food.
Part 1. Industrial agriculture - broken promises: the context of industrial agriculture
- new seeds - meeting corporate needs
- chemical fertilizers - artificial abundance
- pesticides - the deadly solution
- animal husbandry - farm as factory
- mechanization - the technological treadmill
- the bigger picture
- biotechnology and "free" trade - more of the same
Part 2. The new agriculture - back to basics: the context of ecological agriculture
- learning from the past
- techniques of ecological agriculture
- positive trends
- "counter-development" and new ways forward
"There can be few more compellingly presented arguments for a radical and global move to organic agriculture than this. The authors have succeeded in focusing on the key factor behind the mass degradation of our fragile farmlands. They have also clearly demonstrated the existence of a practical ecological alternative"
– Sir Julian Rose, organic farmer
"Both a deeply disturbing and an inspiring book that combines, for the first time, a comprehensive critique of industrial agriculture with visionary reviews of the potential of the new worldwide movement towards ecological agriculture"
– Patrick Holden, Soil Association
"A superb overview [...] Not only details the cul-de-sac into which industrialized agriculture has taken us, but provides useful insights into ways out of the crisis"
– Nicholas Hildyard, The Ecologist
"A concise and very readable book covering many of the contradictions of industrial agriculture and linking North/South problems in a very satisfactory way"
– Professor Michael Redclift, Wye College, University of London
"I have often wanted a short, coherent argument about the nature of industrial agriculture, and an outline of realistic alternatives to it. At last, here is such a book"
– Wes Jackson, The Land Institute