New “Reflections” section; new report on agroecology

We’ve added a new section called “Reflections” as we work to complete our forthcoming publication, “The Vocation of the Agricultural Leader.” A final draft of this 24-page booklet is currently under review. Look for this publication to be released early in the new year.

For the time being, a summary of these reflections can be found here. Based on symposiums and discussions we’ve held over the past year, we reflect on the economic, social and ecological conditions facing agriculture today. However, our primary interest remains a religious one: How do we articulate a set of principles that emanate from Christian teachings and set the vocational guidelines for agriculture and food production?

We welcome comments and reactions to our Reflections: please send to Robert Gronski:


Union of Concerned Scientists issues research study on Agroecology

New report released

As the Union of Concerned Scientists describe it, U.S. agriculture is succeeding at production—but failing at sustainability. American farms and ranches produce vast quantities of food, fiber and fuel, but this abundance comes at the expense of the environment, public health, and even long-term agricultural productivity.

Ecological impacts of industrial agriculture include significant greenhouse gas emissions, loss of biodiversity, widespread pollution by fertilizers and pesticides, soil loss and degradation, declining pollinators, and human health risks, among many others.

A rapidly growing body of scientific research, however, suggests that farming systems designed and managed according to ecological principles can meet the food needs of society while addressing these pressing environmental and social issues.

But more research is needed to support implementing agroecological systems across the enormous range of crop varieties, climates, and other conditions that American farmers face. And farmers who want to adopt agroecological approaches need education and technical assistance to make the transition.

The promise of such systems implies an urgent need for increasing the scope and scale of this area of research – agroecology. Notably, agroecological systems have been shown to reduce input dependency and therefore related research is unlikely to be supported by the private sector. Yet, the amount of federal funding available for agroecology has remained unclear.

Recognizing this need, a growing number of scientists have added their voices to a statement calling for increased public investment in agroecological research.

Read more at Union of Concerned Scientists.