Embracing natural cycles for a sustainable food system
All farmers, whether they live in the chilly Ethiopian highlands or in the sun-baked plains of northern India, whether they grow tomatoes or rear cattle, want to get their product to market in the best condition possible. Only then can they secure the price they deserve for the hard work they have put in. For this to happen, everything in the farming cycle has to fall into place – with pre-production, production, supply and consumption demand. Unfortunately, many things can, and do, go wrong.
Farmers may be limited by the availability of good soil, a regular supply of water to irrigate crops, or accessible grazing. At first glance, it may seem that these are natural constraints. Farmers have often been able to work around the limited resources available to them, for instance by using fossil fuels to manufacture chemical fertilizers or to power irrigation pumps. But externalizing environmental costs in this way usually leads to other problems…