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What is sustainable agriculture?

by Mariah Coley last modified Jul 07, 2017 04:20 PM
UC SAREP is committed to helping our stakeholders and the public understand the complex meaning of sustainable agriculture.

Sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals--environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity. UC SAREP identifies the ideas, practices and policies that constitute our concept of sustainable agriculture in a comprehensive white paper, with the goals of 1) clarifying the research agenda and priorities of our program, and 2) suggesting to others practical steps that may be appropriate for them in moving toward sustainable agriculture.

Read ASI's definition and description of sustainable agriculture here.

The complexity and meaning of sustainable agriculture can also be understood through an exploration of the practices, research, programs, and partnerships at the University of California that together comprise the UC's contributions to this field. With the support of the UC Office of the President's Global Food Initiative, UC SAREP has compiled an inventory of these contributions (current through 2015). Explore topic areas, programs, or publications below.

 Topics in sustainable agriculture

Please note: pages within this section are currently under review, and their contents may change.

Addressing Food Insecurity Energy Efficiency & Conservation Organic Farming
Agritourism Food and Agricultural Employment Precision Agriculture (SSM)
Agroforestry Food Labeling/Certifications Soil Nutrient Management
Biofuels Food Waste Management Sustainable Postharvest Management Practices
Conservation Tillage Genetically Modified Crops Technological Innovation in Agriculture
Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Global Sustainable Sourcing of Commodities Urban Agriculture
Cooperatives Institutional Sustainable Food Procurement Value-Based Supply Chains
Cover Crops Biologically Integrated Farming Systems Water Use Efficiency
Dairy Waste Management Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Water Quality Management
Direct Marketing Nutrition & Food Systems Education Zero-Emissions Freight Transport

Directory of UC Programs in Sustainable Agriculturedirectory tile

The UC Programs | Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems directory is a catalog of UC's programmatic activities in sustainable agriculture and food systems. The directory can be searched and sorted by activities and topic areas. This tool is useful for:

    • Institutions and individuals seeking to expand their networks
    • UC researchers, staff, outreach professionals, and students seeking opportunities for collaboration or learning across campuses
    • Prospective undergraduate or graduate students interested in knowing more about UC's contributions to these fields
    • Media and other external entities seeking to quickly access relevant information on UC's activities in broad or specific areas of sustainable agriculture and food systems




Explore connections between sustainable agriculture topicsKumu_What is sustainable agriculture

A systems perspective is essential to understanding sustainability. The system is envisioned in its broadest sense, from the individual farm, to the local ecosystem, and to communities affected by this farming system both locally and globally. An emphasis on the system allows a larger and more thorough view of the positive and negative effects of agricultural practices on human communities and the environment. A systems approach gives us the tools to explore the interconnections between farming and other aspects of our environment and society.

A systems approach also implies interdisciplinary efforts in research and education. This requires not only the input of researchers from various disciplines, but also farmers, farmworkers, consumers, policymakers and others.

This interactive map demonstrates connections among the topics in sustainable agriculture listed above (and more) through peer-reviewed research, case studies, news articles, and more.

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