Tara Garnett tackles the thorny and complex issue of growing more with less.

Tara Garnett

‘Sustainable intensification’ is one of those phrases regularly bandied about in discussions about agriculture. What does it actually mean?

The shorthand definition: ‘producing more food with less negative impact’ – seems hard to dislike. But considering what it might mean in practice, all sorts of questions arise.

Does sustainable intensification imply a particular system or philosophy of agriculture? What about the ‘more food’ issue – how much more, what kind of food, produced where and for whom? How much weight does one attach to the ‘sustainable’ as opposed to the ‘intensification’ part? And what happens when ethical concerns such as animal welfare are added to the mix? 
Continue reading The semantics of sustainability and food security