In many respects the long standing and vigorous debates over alternative agriculture and organic farming are becoming less strident and less polarized. However, despite the mounting evidence that key elements of both the conventional and alternative agricultural communities are beginning to “build bridges” to each other, and to establish formal institutional programs and arrangements for improved communication and program development, important differences continue to separate the proponents and opponents of alternative agriculture. In part, these lingering differences result from the lack of adequate and reliable data, misinformation, and faulty data analyses. In order to clarify those issues which continue to divide the critics and advocates of alternative agriculture, this reappraisal of the debate begins with a methodological critique of comparison studies of conventional and organic farms. Also included is an assessment of fertilizer and pesticide use in American agriculture, the environmental impacts of conventional and reduced-input systems, the relationship between alternative agriculture and efforts to save the family farmer, and the prospects for increased public sector research on reduced-input farming systems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)