Agriculture Sustainability

Please note: This page is still under construction – please click here for a list of completed chapters. The People’s Agenda 21 Project is a 100% volunteer project created and designed by the One Community Team. We are working 1000′s of hours to keep developing its 40 chapters of sustainability to share for those interested in sustainability what is available and working around the world. Thank you for your patience.


As the capacity of available resources and technologies to satisfy the demands of our growing global population for food and other agricultural commodities remains uncertain,  agriculture and rural development have to meet this challenge.  This can be accomplished mainly by diversifying agricultural production on land already in use, conducting degraded-land rehabilitation, and by avoiding further encroachment on land that is only marginally suitable for cultivation.


  • Agriculture and rural development
  • Increasing participation in agriculture sustainability
  • What is sustainable agriculture
  • Land-resource planning information and education for agriculture
  • Land conservation and rehabilitation
  • Water for sustainable food production and sustainable rural development
  • Conservation of plant genetic resources for food and sustainable agriculture
  • Conservation of animal genetic resources for sustainable agriculture
  • Integrated pest management and control in agriculture
  • Sustainable plant nutrition to increase food production
  • Rural energy transition to enhance productivity
  • Environmental accounting and sustainable agriculture

People's Agenda 21, Ideas for the betterment of humanity, serving the highest good of all


There is a benefit to those interested, in integrating sustainable development considerations with agricultural analysis and planning in all locations, particularly in developing locations, because individuals have the ability to contribute directly to development of realistic and operational medium- to long-term plans and programs, and thus to concrete actions with support and monitoring of implementation, by the communities at large, to further assist these areas in achieving success. The potential thrust of food security in this case is to bring about a significant increase in agricultural production in a sustainable way and to achieve a substantial improvement in people’s entitlement to adequate food and culturally-appropriate, locally-produced food supplies.

Ideas for those interested in implementation

  • To maintain and enhance the ability of all local communities to themselves manage infrastructure, programming and planning activities
  • Appropriately gain access to all unused spaces, grass spaces, empty lots, etc. that can be turned into community space for growing food. Start community volunteer initiatives to implement this. (see this article for related ideas Washington Food Forest )
  • Support and communicate verified improvements in harvesting, storage, processing, distribution and marketing of agricultural products at the individual, local and regional levels
  • Formulate and implement integrated agricultural projects that include other natural resource activities, such as management of rangelands, forests, and wildlife, as appropriate


This component bridges infrastructure and integrated resource management. The greater the degree of community control over the resources on which it relies, the greater can be the incentive for economic and human resources development. The approaches focus on fostering self-reliance and cooperation, providing information and supporting user-based organizations.

Ideas for those interested in implementation

  • Facilitate public awareness and educate on the role of people’s participation and people’s organizations, especially women’s groups, youth, indigenous people, local communities and  small farmers, in sustainable agriculture and rural development
  • Start community groups and volunteer groups to help tackle these issues at a local level
  • To help support and develop the management and the internal capacities of rural people’s organizations and extension services and to decentralize decision-making to the lowest community level


Sustainable agriculture comes in a variety of designs and methods, but ultimately grows food in an environmentally friendly way, that uses everything and is renewable and self-sustaining. Agriculture needs to be reinvented and improved to meet future demands for commodities and to avoid further expansion onto marginal lands and encroachment on fragile ecosystems. There is, therefore, a desire to reinvent, renew and improve agriculture by diversifying the production systems for maximum efficiency in the utilization of local resources, while minimizing environmental and economic risks.

Ideas for those interested in implementation

  • To improve farm productivity in a sustainable manner, as well as to increase diversification, efficiency, food security and rural incomes, while ensuring that risks to the ecosystem are minimized
  • To create farm and non-farm employment opportunities, particularly among the poor and those living in marginal areas, taking into account the alternative livelihood proposal among other things in dryland areas
  • On-farm and off-farm employment opportunities can be identified and developed, such as cottage industries, wildlife utilization, aquaculture and fisheries, non-farm activities, such as light village-based manufacturing, farm commodity processing, agribusiness, recreation and tourism, etc.
  • Launch awareness and education programs, geared toward non-agro professionals, in rural servicing and small-scale agro-processing techniques
  • Pursue more permaculture-based alternatives to traditional credit facilities and current rural infrastructure related to processing, transportation and marketing of agro-products


Land resources will last longer if we pay attention to how we are using the land. Present land use often disregards the actual potentials, carrying capacities and limitations of land resources, as well as their diversity in space. We can increase food production to meet the expanding needs of a growing global population without putting enormous pressure on all natural resources, including land.

Ideas for those interested in implementation

  • Here’s a cool resource for how they are implementing sustainable agriculture in cities:
  • To support agricultural planning bodies at local and regional levels to decide priorities, channel resources and implement programs
  • Support and help support agricultural land-use and land-resource planning, management, education and information at individual, local and regional levels
  • Support programs designed to provide open-source information, promote discussion and encourage the formation of end-user-managed groups


Land degradation is the most important environmental problem affecting extensive areas of land in both developed and developing locations. The problem of soil erosion is particularly acute in developing locations, while problems of salinization, water-logging, soil pollution and loss of soil fertility are increasing in all locations. Land degradation is serious because the productivity of huge areas of land is declining just when populations are increasing rapidly and the demand on the land is growing to produce more food, fiber and fuel. While land-use planning and land zoning, combined with better land management, can provide long-term solutions, it is in the best interest of everyone to address land degradation and launch conservation and rehabilitation practices and programs in the most critically affected and vulnerable areas immediately.

Ideas for those interested in implementation

  • To review and initiate local and regional land-resource surveys, detailing the location, extent and severity of land degradation
  • To prepare and implement comprehensive infrastructures and programs leading to the reclamation of degraded lands and the conservation of areas at risk, as well as improve the general planning, management and utilization of land resources and preserve soil fertility for sustainable agricultural development
  • Develop and implement programs to remove and resolve the physical, social and economic causes of land degradation, such as land tenure, appropriate trading systems and agricultural pricing structures, which lead to inappropriate land-use management


This program area is included in chapter 18 (Protection of the quality and supply of freshwater resources). See program area: “Water for sustainable food production and rural development.”


Plant genetic resources for agriculture (PGRFA) are a valuable resource to meet future needs for sustainable food production. Threats to the security of these resources are growing, and efforts to conserve, develop and use genetic diversity are underfunded and understaffed. Many existing gene banks provide inadequate security and, in some instances, the loss of plant genetic diversity in gene banks is as great as it is in the field. The primary objective is to safeguard the world’s genetic resources while preserving them to use sustainably.

Ideas for those interested in implementation

  • To complete the first regeneration and safe duplication of existing ex situ collections on a world-wide basis as soon as possible
  • To collect and study plants useful for increasing food production through joint activities, including education, within the framework of networks of collaborating institutions
  • To Explore and develop infrastructures and help support programs for in situ on-farm and ex situ conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, integrated into strategies and programs for sustainable agriculture
  • To take appropriate measures for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits and results of research and development in plant breeding between the sources and users of plant genetic resources


There currently is a need for increasing, the quantity and quality of animal products and for draught animals calls for conservation of the existing diversity of animal breeds to meet future requirements, including those for use in biotechnology. Some local animal breeds, in addition to their socio-cultural value, have unique attributes for adaptation, disease resistance and specific uses and can be preserved. These local breeds are threatened by extinction as a result of the introduction of exotic breeds and of changes in livestock production systems.

Ideas for those interested in implementation

  • To enumerate and describe all breeds of livestock used in animal agriculture in as broad a way as possible and encourage a program of action
  • To support and implement action programs to identify breeds at risk, together with the nature of the risk and appropriate preservation measures
  • To support and implement development programs for indigenous breeds in order to guarantee their survival, avoiding the risk of their being replaced by breed substitution or cross-breeding programs


The use of chemical pest controls have dominated the agricultural scene for more than the last 50 years and their use has adversely affected farm budgets, human health and the environment. New pest problems continue to develop and pests affecting animal health also cause heavy losses and, in many areas, prevent livestock development. An Integrated pest management (IPM) program, which combines biological control, host plant resistance, and appropriate farming practices and eliminates the use of chemical pesticides, is the best option for the future, as it guarantees yields, reduces costs, is environmentally friendly and contributes to the sustainability of agriculture. Integrated pest management can go hand in hand with the appropriate use of organic pesticide materials, thus eliminating the concerns about and need for the safe handling and disposal of toxic chemical pesticides.

Ideas for those interested in implementation

  • Start using natural, safe and organic pesticides to stop chemicals in our food and water supplies, air, etc. Educate on pesticides (organic or synthetic) with the lowest Environmental Impact Quotient for the targeted pest – measured based on its life-cycle impact on the environment
  • Educate about and provide safe and natural alternatives (i.e. vinegar or planting in crops that repel insects, etc.)
  • To improve and implement programs to put integrated pest management practices within the reach of farmers through farmer networks, extension services and research institutions
  • To support operational and interactive networks among farmers, researchers and extension services to demonstrate and develop integrated pest management


A integrated plant nutrition approach aims at ensuring a sustainable supply of plant nutrients to increase future yields without harming the environment and soil productivity.  We can increase agricultural production without destroying soil fertility. This will require increasing agricultural production in high-potential areas through efficiency in the use of inputs. Trained labor, energy supply, adapted tools and technologies, plant nutrients and soil enrichment will all be essential.

Ideas for those interested in implementation

  • Practice safe farming in your own yard or community using natural fertilizers and pesticides to promote and educate
  • Optimize availability of fertilizer and other plant nutrient sources
  • To support and maintain institutional and human infrastructure to enhance effective decision-making on soil productivity
  • To develop and make available as much know-how to farmers, extension agents, planners and infrastructure makers on environmentally sound new and existing technologies and soil-fertility management strategies for application in demonstrating sustainable agriculture
  • Integrate organic and inorganic sources of plant nutrients in a system to sustain soil fertility and determine mineral fertilizer needs
  • Determine plant nutrient requirements and supply strategies and optimize the use of both organic and inorganic sources, as appropriate, to increase farming efficiency and production
  • Develop and demonstrate processes for the recycling of organic and inorganic waste into the soil structure, without harming the environment, plant growth and human health


Energy supplies in many locations are not equal with their development needs and are highly priced and unstable. In rural areas of developing countries, the chief sources of energy are fuelwood, crop residues and manure, together with animal and human energy. More intensive energy inputs are required for increased productivity of human labor and for income-generation. To this end, rural energy infrastructures and technologies should demonstrate a move away from  fossil fuels and toward renewable energy sources that are sustainable and ensures sustainable agricultural development. The full potential of agriculture and agroforestry, as well as common property resources, as sources of renewable energy, can being realized. The attainment of sustainable rural development is intimately linked with energy demand and supply patterns.

Ideas for those interested in implementation

  • To initiate and encourage a process of environmentally sound energy transition in rural communities, from what many consider unsustainable energy sources, to structured and diversified energy sources by making available alternative new and renewable sources of energy
  • To increase the energy inputs available for rural household and agro-industrial needs through planning and appropriate technology transfer and development
  • To implement self-reliant rural programs favoring sustainable development of renewable energy sources and improved energy efficiency
  • Share and exchange experiences on rural energy planning methodologies in order to demonstrate efficient planning and select cost-effective technologies
  • Demonstrate pilot plans and projects consisting of electrical, mechanical and thermal power (gasifiers, biomass, solar driers, wind-pumps and combustion systems) that are appropriate and likely to be adequately maintained
  • Enhance public awareness of rural energy solutions, stressing the economic and environmental advantages of renewable energy sources
  • Help support extension services and local organizations to implement plans and programs for new and renewable sources of energy at the town/village level


The increase of ultraviolet radiation as a consequence of the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer is a phenomenon that has been recorded in different regions of the world, particularly in the southern hemisphere. Consequently, it is important to evaluate its effects on plant and animal life, as well as on sustainable agricultural development.

Ideas for those interested in implementation

  • Develop and implement programs to remove and resolve the physical, social and economic causes of land degradation, such as land tenure, appropriate trading systems and agricultural pricing structures, which lead to inappropriate land-use management

People's Agenda 21, Ideas for the betterment of humanity, serving the highest good of all