Agriculture : The Wisest Pursuit Essays

Agriculture : The Wisest Pursuit Essays

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Thomas Jefferson once said: “agriculture is our wisest pursuit because it will in the end contribute most to the real wealth, good morals and happiness.” However, the advents of modern agriculture through food industrialization may have brought him to question his own predictions. The industrialization of food is the narrowing and simplification of the food chain into a system that meets standards of quantity, uniformity and cost ultimately leading to a Western diet that threatens sustainability of life and the environment.
Tom Urban (1991) was the first to coin the term industrialization of food describing it as: “a process by which consumers wants and needs were fed back into a production and distribution system to provide desired quantity, availability and price” (p. 4). Beginning in the early part of the 20th century agriculture was transformed from a diversified system of small-scale farmers who labored in the field to a complex system of large, technologically-dependent manufacturing of commodity crops like corn and soy (Dimitri, Effland & Conklin, 2005, p. 1). This emerged in response to changes in farm policy and the industrialization of other sectors of society that encourages industry to “get big or get out”.
A number of changes in farm policy and socioeconomic times helped propel American farms into the new age of agriculture. America was in the midst of an industrial revolution and big agriculture was a way to get farmers off the land and into manufacturing jobs that increased consumption and economic development (Dimitri, Effland & Conklin, 2005, p. 1). Technological advancements in farm equipment as well as the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides allowed farmers to mechanize, producing more food with less ...


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...wledge of the consumer is not restructured to slow the progression of these processes, we may find our food supply and our planet critically threatened all while Americans continue to live in sickness and die earlier. Fortunately, sustainable food models such as the Barilla Double pyramid are been designed to help consumers understand which foods are best for their health and better for the environment. Many scholars including Pollan suggest that we can reverse these implication of food industrialization. However, doing so may be more complicated than it seems. Industrialization of food, in its quest to simplify and standardize, has created a mammoth system so complex it will take the drive and knowledge of each and every eater to move the United States a new era of food. An era of food of which our agricultural father Jefferson once dreamed.























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