Following my recent links to articles on plant breeding, I also just read this one on how plant breeders can respond better to environmental priorities in their work.
On another note, I have long wanted to write a blog post comparing different visions for where agriculture needs to go in the next decades. Namely, I wanted to compare very industry-focused visions with more agroecological sensibilities. But many of the reports I would like to compare are hundreds of pages long, so if I'm going to wait until I've read them all, I'll probably never write the damn post. Instead, I'm opting for sharing these different reports one by one as I read them. The first report then that I'll be sharing discusses integrated crop and livestock systems, and the role they have to play in feeding the world in the future. "Integrated crop and livestock" is a fancy way of describing what farmers the world over have done for generations; combine both plants and animals on their farms. The industrialization of agriculture tends to lead farmers away from this practice, such that instead of stable, diversified economic systems, they focus only on the one or two most immediately profitable elements of their farms, to the exclusion of all other activities. This often makes sense in the short term, but it makes the farmer (and the world as a whole) more vulnerable to economic and environmental shocks, in addition to producing less total food in a given area. So the conference proceedings I've linked to here are basically a first attempt to figure out how to return to integrated crop and livestock systems, but with modifications that can make them even more productive and more adapted to the 21st century.