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Balancing on a PlanetThe Future of Food and Agriculture$
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David A. Cleveland

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780520277410

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520277410.001.0001

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Thinking Critically about Sustainable Agrifood Systems

Thinking Critically about Sustainable Agrifood Systems

(p.71) Three Thinking Critically about Sustainable Agrifood Systems
Balancing on a Planet

David A. Cleveland

University of California Press

The sustainability revolution in agrifood systems began in the early 1980s, in reaction to environmental and social problems caused by preceding revolutions. Understanding sustainability requires understanding how our knowledge about the world is created, including similarities and differences between the knowledge of farmers and scientists. This supports critical thinking, especially about assumptions. Increasing agrifood sustainability requires three steps. First, defining sustainability, a value-based goal for how we think the world should be, which requires community discussion. Second, choosing indicators of sustainability, as defined, and objectively measuring them to find out how the world is. Third, making and implementing policies to increase sustainability, as defined, checking progress by repeated measurement of indicators, and rethinking our definition in light of new information.

Keywords:   sustainability revolution, critical thinking, farmer knowledge, scientist knowledge, assumptions, definition, value-based goal, indicators, measurement, policies

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