Food system narratives to end hunger: extractive versus regenerative

Molly D Anderson, Marta Rivera-Ferre
Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability

Industrial agriculture has been promoted widely as essential for ending hunger, the second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). Despite increases in global productivity and yields of many commodity crops, SDG2 has not yet been achieved and the negative environmental and social consequences of this system have become impossible to ignore. Narratives associated with regenerative agricultural systems such as agroecology and food sovereignty deserve more attention, given their significant potential social and environmental benefits. To combat the dangerous counter-narrative at all scales that productivism is ‘the solution’, it is important to frame industrial agriculture as unsustainable by design and distinguish more clearly between extractive and regenerative farming systems, in particular those capable of simultaneously sequestering more carbon, enhancing public health and promoting community well-being. Promoting this new narrative will require overcoming the lock-ins that have kept industrial agriculture alive in international policy forums focused on food security.