Views from the Food System Frontier: Measuring Agricultural Stewardship: Risks and Rewards


  • Joseph McIntyre Ag Innovations Network





First paragraphs:

As a process facilitator working exclusively on food system issues, I spend a lot of time on the road talking to farmers and other food system actors about sustainability. The two most frequent comments I hear, particularly from producers, are "what the heck does sustainability mean?" and "if we were not sustainable, we would not be here today."

The dialogue from this point may follow one of several paths. We can try to define sustainability abstractly, and inevitably someone will bring forward a definition that mimics the Brundtland[1] formulation: Sustainability means meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Others may say that sustainability is a set of practices, such as organic or biodynamic farming. Still others suggest that it has an ever-shifting end point, never reached and also never fully defined.

[1] The Brundtland Commission, more formally the World Commission on Environment and Development, developed the first popularized framework for "sustainable development" in the mid-1980s.


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Author Biography

Joseph McIntyre, Ag Innovations Network

Joseph McIntyre is president of Ag Innovations Network, a California-based nongovernmental organization that focuses exclusively on developing and facilitating collabora­tions between interests in the food system to promote change in practices and policies. Trained as both an economist and an organization development professional, he works with food system leaders on complex change initiatives.

Joseph McIntyre



How to Cite

McIntyre, J. (2010). Views from the Food System Frontier: Measuring Agricultural Stewardship: Risks and Rewards. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 1(1), 19–22.