Okay, I am now officially sick of the cowardice and lack of imagination demonstrated by many academic agriculture experts. They purport to address the question of the day: How are we going to feed 7 billion and counting people without destroying the planet? But they offer no answers, or only weak and partial answers.
Here is a prime example, the Tedx talk by Jonathan Foley of the Institute of the Environment at the University of Minnesota:
As you see, Foley does a nice job of characterizing the problem: Industrial agriculture is an ecological disaster…yet we have increasing numbers of mouths to feed.
His answer? Organic and industrial farmers and Monsanto all need to talk about solutions.
Seriously? Let's form a committee? Because that worked so well on deficit reduction!
A TED event is a great forum. How could you not use it to float a pet notion or two of your own? And an actual idea, not some vague "third way" compromise between various special interests.
One often gets the sense from such experts that they have no idea whereof they speak because they have never grown food in their lives. Of course, this may not be true in Foley's case, since his university bio lists "gardening" among his hobbies. Still, one imagines him out there with his Felcos dead-heading the ornamentals, not in the dirt yanking turnips out of the soil.
I do grow food. I've got my TED talk ready: