Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Major

Philosophy

Date of Defense

11-15-2013

Graduate Advisor

Stephaniei Ross, Ph.D.

Committee

Jill Delston, Ph.D.

Waldemar Rohloff, Ph.D.

Eric Wiland, Ph.D.

Abstract

Food is necessary to human survival and having a sustainable food supply is one way to help guarantee this necessity. Sustainability comes in two forms. Weak sustainability, or substitutability, defines sustainability as the ability to substitute a diminishing resource with another more plentiful resource without irrevocably damaging the environment. Strong sustainability shifts its focus away from substitution and focuses only on renewable resources while maintaining the environmental caveat found in weak sustainability. Our current industrial food production system fails to meet the definition for strong sustainability because of its heavy reliance on fossil fuels, chemical fertilizers and pesticides as well as its inability to maintain healthy soils. The current system also fails to meet the definition for weak sustainability due to its heavy reliance on antibiotics in meat and dairy production, lack of biodiversity and heavy pollution. In order to have a sustainable food supply, the current industrial system needs to be replaced. Small organic operations with the use of farmers markets and CSA’s meet the definition for weak sustainability and can be implemented relatively quickly. Vertical farming and other future innovations will allow us to work towards a food supply that meets the requirements for strong sustainability over a longer timeframe. This move away from industrial food production towards small scale sustainable food production will be brought about through the implementation of a new food culture.

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