Mini Report: Land use planning for sustainable food systems. By John Ikerd

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This journal discusses the need for agricultural land in future generations.  There needs to be a general understanding of the importance of effective land use planning and zoning to develop sustainable food systems. Fertile agricultural land must be available for future generations to grow food.   Land use planning is a critical function of sustainable government planning.

The term sustainability ultimately means meeting the needs of present generations without compromising the needs of future generations. This is a long-term idea.  Which contrasts the idea of economic value.  Economic value is focused on present times.  Humans would rather have something now, rather than wait weeks for it.  This explains why we pay for goods on interest.  Economic value is worth nothing to us when we die, so depleting our natural resources for money is not frowned upon, rather expected.

Land needs to be treated as a common good, rather than a public good.  Land was not created by anyone, so it should not belong to one individual. If people are allowed to own land, then everyone should have a say about the use of it.  People should still be able to profit off their land, as long as they are considering the future productivity of the land.

Agriculture runs on fossil fuels.  One day, the world’s civilizations will deplete all fossil fuels, and future generations will discover ways to grow food with renewable energy.  But land is necessary for the growth of food, regardless of the renewable energy sources available. If present generations do not prioritize the needs of land for future generations, there will be no land to grow food.

Governments need to designate large areas of land for sustainable agriculture. Soil management techniques need to begin on all areas of land that are currently used for agriculture.  Techniques such as reducing soil erosion, minimal tilling, and building organic matter in the soil will keep land fertile for future generations. Society can create these changes, but a public consensus needs to be established to start the fire.

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