As important as it is to improve life locally, such efforts will not work their way up through the world's economy to solve our biggest problems.
Interest in breeding a perennial version of wheat is once again on the rise. That would help reduce soil erosion, maintain soil cover, and cut back on fossil-fuel and chemical inputs.
Do natural genes that defend wheat against diseases also hurt its productivity and food quality? Sometimes yes, sometimes no - and when diseases hit, resistance genes protect yield and quality.
Sowing confusion about wheat.
Does wheat wreck your health?
Drought has been displaced by winter storms in the headlines, but persistent water shortages are plaguing much of North America, and the past 18 months have seen a global outbreak of water emergencies.
The quake that struck near Prague, Oklahoma on November 5, 2011, was the biggest ever recorded in the state. Now geologists are warning Oklahomans that quakes may become a regular phenomenon in the state. And the problem is apparently connected to natural-gas operations.
Strict ceilings on resource use, with rationing, can halt and reverse climate disruption. Australia's experience shows why the alternative to rationing, a carbon tax, is too indirect and too politically toxic to succeed.
Incorporating charcoal into the soil helped Amazonian farmers grow better crops, and its new industrial version is promoted as a panacea for both agriculture and the global climate. Those claims are not realistic.
In The Land Institute senior scientist Stan Cox's critique of the 2013 Farm bill, it's argued that more federal support could be shifted to food security and conservation if less were going to Big Ag.
Proposals to weaken the links among conservation, farming and fair access to food would worsen the problems of U.S. agriculture.
Flashy technologies billed as holding the key to an “age of plenty” cannot ward off future hunger. But strong rural communities working with, not against, nature can create an age of sufficiency.