Sustainable Farming to Feed a Growing World
About a third of the world’s land is currently used for farming. As the global need for food grows with rising population and consumption, farming is becoming a major threat to the environment, contributing to climate change, species extinction, and water shortages. At the same time, one in eight people remain hungry—and we will need to feed an additional two to three billion by the end of this century.
Improving the way we grow food so that we can meet the world’s need for it while protecting the environment is a major challenge. As Canada Research Chair in Global Environmental Change and Food Security, Dr. Navin Ramankutty has been developing and analyzing data and mathematical models of global farming systems to develop solutions that can meet this challenge.
Ramankutty and his research team are gathering global information on crops, including their production, their planting and harvest dates, and the amount of fertilizer farmers apply to them. The team also collects data on how different farming methods influence crop productivity and the environment.
They are developing global models to understand the impact of farming on the environment and, in turn, how climate and other global changes influence farming. They will use these tools to explore new ideas that could improve farming methods, and to investigate whether alternate methods, such as organic farming or urban agriculture, could play a substantial role in furthering sustainability.
The critical questions posed by Ramankutty's research may change the way we farm and eat.