What Is Sustainable?

Last week, an event called “The Food Dialogues” brought together a diverse group of thinkers and advocates and dirt-on-their-boots farmers to answer the question “Is our food system sustainable.”  

The answer I walked away with: “Potentially.”

Thinking back, I don’t recall a single person who argued that how we grow food today is going to meet the needs of the future. Rather, we’ll need to produce more food using less land, fuel and water. We’ll need more knowledge about everything from nutrition to the biology of soil. We’ll have to resolve questions about the application of technology and food accessibility.   

But then again, sustainability is not a point we’re aiming for. It’s a process we engage in.

That’s because, simply put,  tomorrow will be different. We’ll have new farmers with new ideas, new research, new consumer expectations, and new environmental concerns, all of which will require new knowledge.     

So sustainability will hinge on our capacity to learn and, ultimately, our ability to adapt. Thoughtful conversations like the one last week are a good start.

See highlights from the conversation

Watch the full discussion from Food Dialogues – Ohio.

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