Why Farming Is Broken (And Always Has Been)

Thanks to the Land Institute for sponsoring this video! To learn more about their work, visit
To feed everyone in the future, we may need to disrupt 10,000 years of farming practices and turn agriculture into a closed system.

Thanks also to our supporters on
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To learn more, start your googling with these keywords:
Annual plant: living for a year or less, perpetuating itself by seed
Perennial plant: living for several years
Polyculture: the simultaneous cultivation or exploitation of several crops or kinds of animals
Natural systems agriculture: cropping systems based on processes found in nature
Agroforestry: land use management that combines the cultivation of trees/shrubs with crops/pasture to create more productive and sustainable land-use systems
Alley cropping: planting agricultural crops between rows of trees or shrubs
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If you liked this week’s video, you might also like:
Alley cropping:
Agroforestry:
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Credits (and Twitter handles):
Script Writer: Alex Reich (@alexhreich)
Script Editor: Emily Elert (@eelert)
Video Illustrator: Jesse Agar
Video Director: Kate Yoshida (@KateYoshida)
Video Narrator: Kate Yoshida (@KateYoshida)
With Contributions From: Henry Reich, Ever Salazar, Peter Reich, David Goldenberg
Music by: Nathaniel Schroeder:

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References:

Baker, B. 2017. Can Modern Agriculture Be Sustainable? Perennial polyculture holds promise. BioScience, 67(4), 325-331.

Crews, T. E. 2016. Closing the Gap between Grasslands and Grain Agriculture. Kan. JL & Pub. Pol’y, 26, 274.

Dawson, C. J., & Hilton, J. 2011. Fertiliser availability in a resource-limited world: Production and recycling of nitrogen and phosphorus. Food Policy, 36, S14-S22.

Famiglietti, J. S. 2014. The global groundwater crisis. Nature Climate Change, 4(11), 945-948.

Kantar, M. B. et al. 2016. Perennial grain and oilseed crops. Annual review of plant biology, 67, 703-729.

Montgomery, D. R. (2007). Soil erosion and agricultural sustainability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(33), 13268-13272.