EXCERPT: Today, many public universities including my own promote their research and educational efforts in support of a more sustainable agriculture. It wasn’t always this way. The end of the year seems like a good time for reflection – to see what we can learn from our past. So lets look back to the “early days” of sustainable agriculture, the late 1980′s, when a loosely organized contingency of farmers invented an idea they called “sustainable agriculture.”
The early advocates of sustainable agriculture were mostly farmers. They generally managed mid-sized farms, but there was no consistent pattern, no typical type of farm that led the way into sustainable agriculture. Some were organic, others not. The unifying characteristic among these early advocates was that all had weathered the severe financial stress of the mid-1980′s – and they were still farming.