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Food and Agriculture: Toward Healthy Food and Farms

Working to promote sustainable agriculture in the United States

Our agricultural system has lost its way.

Millions of acres of corn, soybeans, and other commodity crops, grown with the help of heavy government subsidies, dominate our rural landscapes.

To grow these crops, industrial farms use massive amounts of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, which deplete our soil and pollute our air and water.

Much of this harvest will end up as biofuels and other industrial products—and most of the rest will be used in CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) or in heavily processed junk foods, which seem cheap only because their hidden costs don't show up at the cash register.

Industrial agriculture is unhealthy—for our environment, our climate, our bodies, and our rural economies. 

A Better Way: Sustainable Agriculture

There's a better way to grow our food. Working with nature instead of against it, sustainable agriculture uses 21st-century techniques and technologies to implement time-tested ideas such as crop rotation, integrated plant/animal systems, and organic soil amendments.

Sustainable agriculture is less damaging to the environment than industrial agriculture, and produces a richer, more diverse mix of foods. It's productive enough to meet our needs, and efficient enough to succeed in the marketplace—but current U.S. agricultural policy stacks the deck in favor of industrial food production.

WATCH: MONSANTO SUPERSIZES WEED PROBLEMS

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WHAT'S NEW

FACT SHEET: Hospitals and Healthy Food
An innovative Farm Bill program will encourage hospitals to partner with community groups.

STATEMENT: Scientists Call for Public Investment in Agroecological Research
Experts agree: Support the science of sustainable farming.

POLICY BRIEF: The Rise of Superweeds
It's not science fiction, but science can help us fix it.

REPORT: The Healthy Farmland Diet
Healthier food can mean a healthier landscape.

REPORT & VIDEO: The $11 Trillion Reward
Investing in healthy food can save lives and dollars.

REPORT & INFOGRAPHIC: The Healthy Farm
Our science-based vision for U.S. agriculture.

From Our Blog

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It's time for new policies that will level the playing field for sustainable farmers. You can help. Join our campaign to transform U.S. agricultural policy and help sustainable, healthy, economically robust farms grow.

The Farm Bill

Federal policy has a huge impact on U.S. agriculture, and this impact is largely shaped by the Farm Bill, which is revised and reauthorized every five years. Find out what we'd like to see in the next Farm Bill--and how you can help.
More about the Farm Bill >

Antibiotic Misuse

Research has shown that in the U.S., more antibiotics are given to healthy animals than to sick humans. Meanwhile, antibiotic resistance is a growing problem with consequences that can be deadly. Read about how these two phenomena are connected--and what we can do about it.
More about antibiotics in agriculture >

Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering in agriculture has failed to deliver on many of its promised benefits, and has produced some serious unintended consequences. Yet the USDA seems determined to regulate GMOs as little as possible.
More about genetic engineering in agriculture >

Industrial Agriculture

CAFOs, monoculture, overuse of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers...too much of our farming uses methods that are bad for the soil, the environment, the climate, and rural communities. Find out why industrial agriculture is so 20th century.
More about industrial agriculture >

You Can Help

UCS has been a leader in efforts to transform U.S. agriculture in a sustainable and healthy direction. Our expert analysis provides a scientifically grounded perspective that will shape better policy. You can help support this work:

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