THE ECONOMIC PAMPHLETEER: Running Out of Land for Food


  • John Ikerd University of Missouri, Columbia



Sustainable Agriculture, Environmental Science


First paragraph:

The challenge of preserving enough farmland for food production will be a defining challenge for the 21st century. Lester Brown, icon of the Worldwatch Institute, identifies food scarcity as "the weak link" of modern society (Brown, 2012). He points to the growing global demand for food and fuel, eroding soils, declining aquifers, and global climate change as major challenges to the future of human civilization. All of these challenges could be met, but not without a fundamental transformation in current ways of thinking about both land and food. A market economy will neither provide food for the hungry of current generations nor preserve enough farmland to provide food for generations of the future. Any society that allows markets to determine how much and what kind of land is used for food is not sustainable. This could be thedefining challenge of the 21st century....


Metrics Loading ...

Author Biography

John Ikerd, University of Missouri, Columbia

John Ikerd is professor emeritus of agricultural economics, University of Missouri, Columbia. He was raised on a small dairy farm in southwest Missouri and received his BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri. He worked in private industry for a time and spent 30 years in various professorial positions at North Carolina State University, Oklahoma State University, University of Georgia, and the University of Missouri before retiring in 2000. Since retiring, he spends most of his time writing and speaking on issues related to sustainability with an emphasis on economics and agriculture. Ikerd is author of Sustainable Capitalism; A Return to Common Sense; Small Farms Are Real Farms; Crisis and Opportunity: Sustainability in American Agriculture; A Revolution of the Middle; and the just-released The Essentials of Economic Sustainability. More background and selected writings are at his University of Missouri website and personal website.
John Ikerd



How to Cite

Ikerd, J. (2013). THE ECONOMIC PAMPHLETEER: Running Out of Land for Food. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 4(1), 7–9.